Sen. Roberts’ re­tire­ment could spur wild 2020 race

The Wichita Eagle (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY BRYAN LOWRY, JONATHAN SHORMAN AND JA­SON HAN­COCK

Sen. Pat Roberts fired the start­ing pis­tol for what could be a wild U.S. Se­nate race in Kansas with his an­nounce­ment Fri­day that he won’t seek re-elec­tion in 2020.

The GOP pri­mary to re­place Roberts could pit out­go­ing Gov. Jeff Colyer against Rep. Roger Mar­shall, who rep­re­sents Roberts’ old U.S. House seat in “The Big First,” a mas­sive west­ern Kansas district that also pro­duced former Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Bob Dole and Sen. Jerry Mo­ran.

But that’s just the start of the list. Open se­nate seats are a rare po­lit­i­cal op­por­tu­nity, of­ten a once-in-a-gen­er­a­tion chance to join the ex­clu­sive 100-mem­ber club.

It’s likely to make last year’s heav­ily con­tested race for Kansas gov­er­nor look tame by com­par­i­son.

“There’s only two U.S. Se­nate seats from Kansas. They’re not mak­ing any­more,” quipped David Kensinger, a long­time GOP con­sul­tant who has pre­vi­ously man­aged Se­nate cam­paigns for both Roberts and Sam Brown­back.

Kansas At­tor­ney Gen­eral Derek Sch­midt also is weigh­ing a run af­ter be­ing elected to a third term as the state’s top law en­force­ment of­fi­cial in Novem­ber.

“Our coun­try needs thought­ful, ef­fec­tive con­ser­va­tive voices in the U.S. Se­nate. AG Sch­midt will talk with fam­ily, friends and sup­port­ers about what Sen­a­tor Roberts’ re­tire­ment means for Kansas’ voice in Washington go­ing for­ward,” said Sch­midt’s spokesman Clint Blaes.

Sch­midt worked as an aide to former Sen. Nancy Kasse­baum, R-Kansas, early in his ca­reer and served as ma­jor­ity leader of the Kansas Se­nate be­fore be­com­ing at- tor­ney gen­eral. He’s also man­aged to stay pop­u­lar with both the con­ser­va­tive and moder­ate fac­tions of the Repub­li­can Party in re­cent years.

Even one of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s cab­i­net sec­re­taries has been floated as a can­di­date.

File pho­tos

A Repub­li­can pri­mary in 2020 could pit, from left, U.S. Rep. Roger Mar­shall, out­go­ing Gov. Jeff Colyer, and Kansas At­tor­ney Gen­eral Derek Sch­midt.

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