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.
Sen. Pat Roberts has announced that he will serve the remainder of his term but will not seek reelection in 2020. He's a low-profile senator, but powerful. As Washington bickers over the president's $5b request, recall that Roberts, as AG chair, just passed a $867b farm bill.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) January 4, 2019
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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