Kansas Treasurer weighs primary bid for Kansas House seat after encouragement from former GOP governor

Kansas Treasurer weighs primary bid for Kansas House seat after encouragement from former GOP governor
© Greg Nash

Freshman Rep. Steve WatkinsSteven (Steve) Charles WatkinsOn The Trail: GOP's tyranny of the minority House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Republicans hold on to competitive Kansas House seat MORE (R-Kansas) could soon face a primary challenger.

State Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R) said he hasn’t ruled out dropping out of the Kansas state senate race after receiving encouragement from former Gov. Jeff Colyer to seek the House seat instead. 

“I am humbled by the encouraging words of Governor Colyer and will take some time with my family to prayerfully consider his suggestion that I run for the 2nd Congressional District seat,” LaTurner said in a statement to McClatchy.  


While he didn’t directly name Watkins, Colyer took to social media on Tuesday to call on LaTurner to run for the seat, arguing the GOP needs “a candidate that can win.” 

“Republicans in Kansas’ Second Congressional District need a candidate that can win the general election in 2020,” he tweeted.  

“I call on #SEK native @JakeLaTurner to seek the Republican nomination for the 2nd Congressional District and Republicans across Kansas to unite behind his campaign.”

Watkins’ Chief of Staff Jim Joice pushed back on the notion that the incumbent couldn’t win a second term, telling McClatchy, “Winning is what Watkins does. It is no surprise insiders are once again trying to force out an outsider. Kansans are sick and tired of these attempted political swamp chess moves.” 

Colyer’s push follows recent rumors Watkins planned to resign from his seat, an allegation the Kansas Republican adamantly denies.

“Let me get this straight…. I have to deny a resignation that no one called for.  Got it. Done. K, going back to work. See you in November,” he tweeted last week. 

A Washington Republican source with knowledge of the situation told The Hill last week the RNC and the Kansas Republican Party were "in touch as to a plan in the event of a resignation, or if they’ll be in a position to ask for one."