HHS: Sebelius not considering a Senate run

Outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusSebelius on GOP healthcare plan: 'I'm not sure what the goal is here' Obama's health secretary to be first female president of American University Leaked email: Podesta pushed Tom Steyer for Obama’s Cabinet 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 RobertsOvernight Energy: Trump to sign orders on offshore drilling, national monuments Watchdog: EPA spending on water pollution campaign was legal Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups 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.