Rep. Jenkins retiring from public office in 2018
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) announced Wednesday that she won’t run for reelection to the House next year or for any other office.

Jenkins had been a possible candidate to run for governor of Kansas in 2018. Her decision to step down from a post on the House GOP leadership team late last year fueled speculation that she was preparing to turn toward a gubernatorial run.

But on Wednesday she ruled out any run for public office next year, saying she wants to return to the private sector at the conclusion of her current term in the House.

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“With the unique opportunity given to us by the American people, with Republican majorities in the House, the Senate, and now a newly inaugurated President, this is a time for action and serious policy making. This is a time for fighting for Kansas and making the tough calls; not fundraising and campaigning,” Jenkins said in a statement.
 
“As such, you should know that I will not be running for any office in 2018. In two years, at the conclusion of this Congress, I plan to retire and explore opportunities to return to the private sector, allowing a new citizen legislator to step up and serve Kansans.”

Jenkins first won election to the House in 2008, meaning she’ll end her congressional service after a full decade. Before entering Congress, the certified public accountant had served as Kansas state treasurer and in both chambers of the state legislature.

President Trump’s decision to tap former Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) as CIA director pulled another potential Kansas gubernatorial candidate out of the running. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is now considered the leading potential GOP candidate for governor, especially with both Jenkins and Pompeo out of the mix.

Jenkins’s departure also means the 240-member House GOP conference will lose one of its 21 women. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the new head of candidate recruitment for the House GOP campaign arm, says one of her top priorities is to add more women to the House GOP conference.