KANSAS | KS-sen

Fear of a Kobach Candidacy Driving Senate Recruitment Strategy

GOP consultants said the party wants to avoid a repeat of his 2018 campaign.

Jan. 23, 2019, 10:48 a.m.

"Fear that Kris Kobach will capture the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate is driving the effort to recruit Secretary of State Mike Pompeo into the race, according to GOP strategists with ties to Kansas." David Kensinger, "who has managed successful statewide campaigns for Republican Sen. Pat Roberts and former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback ... said attempts to entice Pompeo ... can absolutely be traced to concerns about a possible Senate run by Kobach, the party’s 2018 nominee for governor."

Kobach's political action committee "has been conducting phone polling in recent weeks on his favorability among GOP voters in anticipation of a possible Senate bid." Although strategists deemed his failed gubernatorial bid disorganized and prone to controversy, Kobach "remains popular with the party’s base and still frequently speaks to President Donald Trump, according to his former campaign manager."

Trump helped elevate Kobach over former Gov. Jeff Colyer (R), who is also considering a Senate bid, in the primary.

GOP consultant Scott Paradise: “Kris Kobach in the general election would be a major problem that Republicans are wisely trying to avoid. Pompeo would immediately take this race off the board.”

"It would be a highly unusual move for Pompeo to give up his prestigious cabinet post to run for Senate in a reliably Republican state."

Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle (R), who is considering a Senate run: “I cannot imagine President Trump letting go of such a valuable asset, especially with his re-election around the corner." (McClatchy)

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