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Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts to Retire in 2020, Won’t Seek Reelection

Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts to Retire in 2020, Won’t Seek Reelection

Scramble to find a replacement well under way

Sen. Pat Roberts announced Friday that he will not seek reelection in 2020.

Roberts is 82-years-old and is currently serving his fourth term.

Politico has more:

Roberts, 82, has served four terms in the Senate and last won reelection in 2014 after facing a bruising Republican primary. His retirement has already sparked interest in his seat from a number of other Kansas Republicans, heralding a potentially crowded 2020 primary — though Democrats hope they can make the race competitive after winning the governorship in 2018.

Rep. Roger Marshall, who represents Roberts’ former House district, has been actively considering a run if the senator declines to seek re-election.

“Since the moment speculation of Senator Roberts’ retirement began, Dr. Marshall’s phone has been ringing,” Brent Robertson, Marshall’s chief of staff, said in a statement. “It’s safe to say that while Dr. Marshall is seriously considering it, he is dead set on making sure we get border security funding to the President’s desk first. Until then, I don’t anticipate any type decision on a Senate run taking priority.”

Republicans view Mike Pompeo, the current secretary of state and former CIA director under President Donald Trump, as a top potential recruit, according to multiple sources. Pompeo was a three-term House member from Kansas before joining the Trump administration, but he has not publicly expressed any interest in another run for political office.

Other potential Republican candidates include former Rep. Kevin Yoder, who lost reelection in a suburban Kansas City district in November; Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state who lost the race for governor last year; Wink Hartman, who was Kobach’s running mate; state Attorney General Derek Schmidt; and Jeff Colyer, the outgoing governor who lost a GOP primary to Kobach after taking office last year.

Republicans expect the seat to remain safely in their control barring a divisive and messy primary. Kansas has not sent a Democrat to the Senate since the 1930s, and Roberts won by double digits in 2014.

As Politico pinted out, former CIA director Mike Pompeo has been floated as a potential candidate.

According to the WaEx, Matt Schlapp, Chairman of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is considering running, following news of Roberts’ retirement:

Schlapp, a Washington lobbyist and chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference, an influential annual gathering of grassroots conservatives, was fielding calls on Friday about the matter ahead of Roberts’ scheduled afternoon announcement over his political future. The Kansas City Star was reporting that Roberts, 82, would announce his retirement after four terms.

Schlapp, who spent five years as the chief of staff to a Kansas congressman, worked in the office of political affairs for former President George W. Bush. But he has been a strong supporter of President Trump, maintaining close ties to the White House, both personally and through his wife, a Republican operative.

Mercedes Schlapp works in the Trump White House as a communications adviser.


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If there’s a way to lose the seat, the GOP will find it.

    1A_Rules in reply to txvet2. | January 4, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    In a state where they managed to lose the governorship? Yep. The Democrats will probably invest tens of millions from CA and other places to win this one too.

buckeyeminuteman | January 4, 2019 at 1:46 pm

Obama’s cousin, Dr. Milton Wolf, barely lost to Roberts in the Kansas primary in 2014. Perhaps he’d run again!

He has been mostly a seat filler in his political career, not a leader.

I’d love to see Kris Kobach, but he didn’t fare too well statewide this year.

My view from across the state line in Missouri saw the 2014 Senate race for Kansas as a contentious one.

From the primary on, Roberts was dogged by his image as a RINO squish who lived in D.C., not Kansas. Many wanted him to step aside and hand the reigns over to a younger candidate for a new generation of voters to choose, but Roberts was Bob Dole’s pick, and as Bob Dole goes, so goes everything west of the state capital, Topeka.

In the end Roberts handily defeated his general election opponent, Greg Orman(I), by 10 points. The reason why is obvious. Orman ran as an independent which is dog whistle for democratic socialist – and Kansas ain’t that far left. At least not west of the state capital. Not yet.

    casualobserver in reply to locomotivebreath1901. | January 4, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    But KS just put a “moderate” (LOL…) Democrat as governor. It may be a different place that 6 years ago and be even more different 2 years hence.

We in Kansas were pretty darned sure this was Pat’s last term anyway. I doubt if Brownback or Kobach would be able to win the seat, because the Dems and the Moderate Republicans knifed them pretty badly in the back. Pompeo would be a lock, I would think, but he’s pretty well needed where he is. Yoder I can see because he was fighting a pretty uphill fight in heavily (D) Kansas City and suburbs against an openly lesbian Native American fairly hard leftist running on an anti-Trump platform last election.

Yoder would be my general preference.