Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation

Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation
© UPI Photo

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump selects Kelly Craft for United Nations ambassador Father of Alabama woman who joined ISIS sues Trump administration Russia extends detention of US citizen accused of spying: report MORE and Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsPompeo says he's 'ruled out' 2020 Kansas Senate run GOP senators offer praise for Klobuchar: 'She’s the whole package' The Hill's Morning Report - House Dems prepare to swamp Trump with investigations 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKids confront Feinstein over Green New Deal Trump selects Kelly Craft for United Nations ambassador Union leader says Green New Deal would make infrastructure bill ‘absolutely impossible’ 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 TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE named Pompeo secretary of State last year after firing his former top diplomat, Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonHeather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job Trump administration’s top European diplomat to resign in February Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation 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.