Secretary of State Pompeo Will Not Run for Kansas Senate Seat

Jennifer Jacobs and Nick Wadhams

(Bloomberg) -- Secretary of State Michael Pompeo will not run for an open Senate seat in his home state of Kansas, a person familiar with the matter said Monday night.

Pompeo went to Capitol Hill on Monday and told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he would not be a candidate, according to the person, who was granted anonymity to discuss a private meeting.

McConnell and other prominent Republicans had urged Pompeo, who represented Kansas in Congress, to enter the race to replace Senator Pat Roberts, who is retiring.

President Donald Trump had predicted in November that Pompeo would “win in a landslide” if he ran.

Although Kansas has long been a GOP stronghold, McConnell and other Republican leaders feared that immigration hard-liner Kris Kobach, a former Kansas secretary of state who was defeated in the 2018 governor’s race by Democrat Laura Kelly, might lose if he were to become the Republican candidate.

Last summer, Republican donors were told to hold off contributing to the race until Pompeo made a decision.

Originally Trump’s Central Intelligence Agency director, Pompeo used his rapport with the president to become the administration’s dominant voice on foreign policy.

He played a role in Trump’s decision to order the airstrike that killed Qassam Soleimani, a top Iranian general, last week.

But Pompeo came under criticism during the House impeachment inquiry for not doing more to back up his diplomats, particularly U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

She was recalled to the U.S. months early following complaints from Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Pompeo also led Trump’s effort to break decades of deadlock over North Korea’s nuclear program, an initiative that has so far failed to show significant progress despite three meetings between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jennifer Jacobs in Washington at jjacobs68@bloomberg.net;Nick Wadhams in Washington at nwadhams@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Shepard at mshepard7@bloomberg.net, John Harney, Max Berley

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