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Pompeo tells McConnell he won't run for Kansas Senate seat

Mike Pompeo
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"