Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation

Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo: There's 'no indication' Iran will change direction Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Trump confirms he authorized Rand Paul to negotiate with Iran MORE and Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Pompeo on Senate run: 'I always leave open the possibility that something will change' CNN's Cuomo spars with Kris Kobach over whether Trump's tweet was racist MORE (R-Kan.) are planning to meet amid speculation that the Trump administration’s top diplomat could run to replace the retiring senator, a spokesperson for Roberts said Friday.

Sarah Little, Roberts’s communications director, said that staff is working to arrange a meeting between Pompeo and the senator, but that the Kansas Republican is unaware of the secretary’s plans for 2020.

“Senator Roberts would be happy to meet with any Republican interested in running for the Senate from Kansas,” Little said in an email to The Hill.

The plans for a meeting come an increasingly aggressive effort by Senate Republicans to recruit Pompeo to run for Roberts’s seat in 2020.


The Washington Post reported Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch Funding a strong defense of our nation's democratic process can't wait The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants MORE (R-Ky.) has personally urged Pompeo to leave the State Department to run for the seat, even directly broaching the subject in a recent phone call.

A spokesperson for the State Department told The Hill that Pompeo is focused on his current job, but did not deny that the secretary could meet with Roberts.

“Secretary Pompeo is focused on serving the President and keeping Americans safe as the Secretary of State," said Robert Palladino, a deputy spokesperson for the State Department.

Before joining the Trump administration as CIA director in 2017, Pompeo, 55, served as a congressman from Kansas’s 4th District. President TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE named Pompeo secretary of State last year after firing his former top diplomat, Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonPress: Acosta, latest to walk the plank A brief timeline of Trump's clashes with intelligence director Dan Coats What is Trump's Iran end game? MORE.

Roberts, who’s currently in his fourth term in the Senate, announced earlier this month that he would not seek reelection in 2020. Since then, Republican leaders have eyed Pompeo as a top choice to succeed the 82-year-old Roberts.

Democrats, fresh off a wave election in November that handed them control of the House, are hoping to regain a majority in the Senate in 2020, when nearly two dozen Republican incumbents will face reelection.

But winning Kansas is not likely to be easy for Democrats. The state has not sent a Democrat to the Senate since 1932. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, currently puts the 2020 Senate race in the state in the “likely Republican” column.

-- Updated at 3:12 p.m.