Update: He filed paperwork and is officially running.
Speculation out of Kansas is rampant going into Monday as former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has called for supporters to converge on Leavenworth this afternoon, according to a report by McClatchy. No specifics are known, but some say he may be preparing to announce a bid for the open Senate seat in 2020. Current Senator Pat Roberts is retiring.
Kobach ran for governor in 2018 but lost to Democrat Laura Kelly despite the dominance of the GOP in the state. This has many in the GOP Establishment worried. Kobach is an immigration hawk who received a full endorsement from President Trump. Rumors swirled that he would get a role in the White House, but reports of his demands to have access to a private jet and unfettered access to the Oval Office soared his prospects.
Since then, he has been helping We Build the Wall, an organization working to crowdfund significant stretches of wall along the southern border. Kobach serves as general counsel and is on the board for the organization. If his Leavenworth event isn’t about running for Senate, it likely has something to do with the border wall.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is no fan of Kobach’s. His Senate Leadership Fund will very likely run a major primary candidate against Kobach should he announce. They have their eyes on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but that may be a stretch. Expect them to find a moderate to run against the conservative Kobach in hopes of keeping him from losing a safely red seat.
But Kobach’s failure in 2018 was more about general election sentiment and disorganization in his campaign rather than any ideological flaws he might have. His supporters are very devoted and if he learned from missteps in 2018, he should be able to secure the seat and add another conservative voice to the moderate Senate.
Personally, I hope Kobach runs. His conservative credentials are strong and he learned a lot about running statewide campaigns in his gubernatorial loss. We’ll find out Monday if he does, indeed, announce his intention to run.
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