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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday and informed him that he will not be running for Kansas' open Senate seat in 2020, the New York Times first reported and Axios confirmed from a source with direct knowledge.

The big picture: Speculation had persisted for months that Pompeo was exploring a Senate campaign in his home state, despite his repeated insistence that he was focused exclusively on his job at the State Department.

  • Pompeo's profile has been elevated in recent days in the wake of escalated tensions with Iran, with the secretary appearing on every mainstream Sunday cable talk show to discuss the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

Between the lines: Republicans fear that the Kansas seat could be in jeopardy with Pompeo opting not to run, especially if former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach were to win the GOP primary.

  • Kobach, who was defeated in the race for Kansas governor in 2018, is known for his hardline views on immigration and dubious claims about voter fraud, and he's widely viewed as unpopular among moderates.

Go deeper ... Pompeo on Trump's Iran threat: "We'll behave lawfully"

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities tied to Iranian-backed militia groups in Syria was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

2 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios