HHS: Sebelius not considering a Senate run

Outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusObama's health secretary to be first female president of American University Leaked email: Podesta pushed Tom Steyer for Obama’s Cabinet Romney: Trump victory 'very possible' MORE is not considering a run for Senate, department spokeswoman Dori Salcido confirmed Friday.

The statement puts an end to speculation that began this week after The New York Times reported Sebelius was weighing a challenge to vulnerable Republican Sen. Pat RobertsPat RobertsThe buzzword everyone can agree on in the health debate: RESTORE A guide to the committees: Senate Angst in GOP over Trump's trade agenda MORE (Kan.).

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While the report surprised Sebelius allies, some Democrats argued she could mount a strong challenge and force Republicans to spend money in a red state.

Other Dems said a bid by Sebelius, a former Kanas governor, would be disastrous given her position as the face of ObamaCare's rollout. No Democrat has held a Kansas Senate seat since the 1930s, illustrating the difficulty of winning there.

Friends of Sebelius said she is more likely to take a stable private-sector job given family concerns and the pressure of the last year.

She is scheduled to leave the HHS after her replacement, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, is confirmed by the Senate. Burwell is currently the White House budget director.