Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s declaration on Monday that a run for the U.S. Senate in Kansas in 2020 is off the table leaves some decisions to be made for the others who are considering a run for the seat currently held by Pat Roberts.
“If truly he is not running, that just opens up this race, not only for the Republicans, but a teeny, teeny little bit for the Democrats, as well,” said Washburn University political scientist Bob Beatty.
There are some strong potential Republican candidates that have kept their powder dry to this point that need to decide.
“We’re talking mainly former Governor Jeff Colyer, current Attorney General Derek Schmidt, First District Congressman Roger Marshall,” said Beatty. “Those are the really big three names and then Wink Hartman, who ran with Kris Kobach as his Lt. Governor is also another name out there.”
Kobach is the X factor in this race.
Kobach is, according to polls over the last several years, and especially now that Sam Brownback is gone, the most well known politician in Kansas, by far,” said Beatty. “We’re talking 90 percent plus. That’s hard in American politics. The problem for Kobach is that he’s so well known and, as happened in the Governor’s race, he has very high unfavorables.”
It’s also important to note that the U.S. Senate race isn’t the top of the ticket in 2020, as that is a Presidential election year. Kobach was the first Kansas official to endorse President Trump and has advised him on immigration issues, which Trump is likely to highlight in his re-election campaign.