Brownback makes retirement official

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) on Thursday officially announced that he will not seek another term in the Senate, setting up a probable run for governor in 2010.

Brownback was known to be on the way out, having pledged to serve just two terms. Two Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation have already set in motion efforts to run for his seat in two years.

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Brownback is making three stops today on his announcement tour and was mum about a gubernatorial run at the first stop, his office said. But the nature of his announcement tour suggests he is setting up another statewide run.

The senator is coming off a brief presidential campaign that never gained traction. He should be a strong bet to succeed term-limited Gov. Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusJerry Moran: 'I wouldn't be surprised' if Pompeo ran for Senate in Kansas Mark Halperin inks book deal 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care MORE (D), but might face primary opposition from Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh (R).

The big question now is whether Sebelius, who is no longer a candidate for an Obama administration appointment, will run for the seat. Her candidacy would instantly make the red state competitive.

Rep. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranMcConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug bill Senators inch forward on federal privacy bill Hillicon Valley: Dueling bills set stage for privacy debate | Google co-founders step down from parent company | Advocates rally for self-driving car bill | Elon Musk defamation trial begins | Lawsuit accuses TikTok of sharing data with China MORE (R), the first lawmaker to announce he would run for Brownback’s seat, affirmed his candidacy after praising Brownback’s service.

“At the urging of Kansans from all corners of the state, I am now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, with the hope of continuing to be an independent voice for all Kansans,” Moran said in a statement. “A formal announcement of my candidacy will come at a later time.”