Politico reported on Sunday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo supposedly met with experienced Republican strategist to discuss running for the Kansas senate seat in 2020.

Republican Sen. Pat Roberts said he will not run for re-election in 2020.

From Politico:

Pompeo, a former congressman and ex-CIA director who in April 2018 was confirmed as secretary of State, is considering a Senate bid, though he has yet to make a final decision. Yet party leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are aggressively wooing him. McConnell (R-Ky.) and Pompeo spoke shortly after Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts announced his retirement.

Pompeo and Baker are expected to talk about what a Senate campaign would entail. Baker has deep political experience, having served as National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director during the 2016 election cycle. During the 2018 midterms, he helped to spearhead Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn’s successful Senate bid. He is also close to McConnell.

A Pompeo departure would be a blow to the Trump administration, which has suffered an array of high-profile departures in recent months. In December, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis resigned after breaking with the president over his decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

If Pompeo leaves, that means Trump will have to fill openings at the State, Interior, and Defense Departments.

Roberts’ communications director Sarah Little told The Hill that the “staff is working to arrange a meeting between Pompeo and the senator, but that the Kansas Republican is unaware of the secretary’s plans for 2020.”

The Hill added:

A spokesperson for the State Department told The Hill that Pompeo is focused on his current job, but did not deny that the secretary could meet with Roberts.

“Secretary Pompeo is focused on serving the President and keeping Americans safe as the Secretary of State,” said Robert Palladino, a deputy spokesperson for the State Department.

The Washington Post described a move “from a coveted Cabinet position to vie for a spot as a junior member of the Senate” as “unorthodox,” which is why some believe he will not do it. That doesn’t mean Pompeo has not shut out other possibilities:

One person who has been in contact with Pompeo foresaw a situation in which Pompeo might want to “parachute out if things get bad.” The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid.

Democrats control the House, giving them the power to issue subpoenas and hold hearings on the Trump administration. Meanwhile, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has not completed his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“He hasn’t closed the door,” said one of the people familiar with the phone call, speaking of Pompeo’s posture on a Senate bid.

However, it may be a good idea for Pompeo to do it. While many associate Kansas with Republicans, it wasn’t a full red state this past cycle. The state elected a Democrat governor and flipped the 3rd District to Democrat. From The Washington Post:

From the perspective of McConnell and other Senate Republican leaders, the appeal of Pompeo is clear. He gives them a high-profile recruit with the ability to head off a potentially expensive and divisive primary for a must-keep GOP seat in a ruby-red state.

Given his stature, Kansas political roots and ties to Trump, Pompeo would be heavily favored to win if he entered the race. He served in the House for six years before Trump tapped him to head the CIA. Not long after Rex Tillerson’s departure from the secretary of state job last year, Pompeo won confirmation by the Senate to fill the post.

While we concentrate on the 2020 presidential election, we have to remember that Republicans will have to defend 22 seats in the Senate that year if no one else retires or resigns.


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