Jerry Moran: 'I wouldn't be surprised' if Pompeo ran for Senate in Kansas

Jerry Moran: 'I wouldn't be surprised' if Pompeo ran for Senate in Kansas
© Kevin Dietsch for The Hill

Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranZoom, grocery delivery, self-isolation: How lawmakers are surviving coronavirus Rand Paul's coronavirus diagnosis sends shockwaves through Senate Sinema criticizes Paul for alleged behavior ahead of coronavirus test results: 'Absolutely irresponsible' MORE (R-Kan.) said Wednesday he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Senate deadlocked on relief measures The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden vs. Trump as Sanders exits race GOP rep calls for US to bring international case against China over coronavirus MORE decided to run for Senate next year in Kansas.

“I’ve had conversations with Secretary Pompeo. Certainly the conversations have revolved in part about this issue,” Moran told local reporters, according to Fox 4. “They’ve been weeks ago now and I don’t know what his current thinking is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he entered that race.”

“I think that he would be a good, solid candidate that would get a lot of support in Kansas,” Moran added.

Pompeo said in July that a Senate run in 2020 is “off the table,” but speculation has persisted that he might still run for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsCoronavirus stimulus talks hit setback as crisis deepens Garth Brooks accepts Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song GOP, Democrats hash out 2020 strategy at dueling retreats MORE (R-Kan.).

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former Trump advisor Bossert says to test the well, not ill; Senate standoff on next relief bill McCarthy slams Democrats on funding for mail-in balloting Harris, Ocasio-Cortez among Democrats calling for recurring direct payments in fourth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Ky.) has previously indicated that Pompeo would be his top choice to run for the seat, arguing that his resume and proximity to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Overnight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 Hillicon Valley: State officials push for more election funds | Coronavirus surveillance concerns ramp up pressure for privacy bill | Senators warned not to use Zoom | Agencies ask FCC to revoke China Telecom's license MORE would make him a strong candidate.

Many Republicans worry that the possible nomination of former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a conservative firebrand who has staked out hard-line positions on immigration and election fraud, could jeopardize the party's chances of keeping the seat in the GOP column next year after he lost the governor’s race last year to a Democrat.

“If it’s Kobach, hell yes, that’s a major race,” a veteran GOP operative with deep ties to Kansas told The Hill earlier this year.

If Pompeo were to jump into the race, he would likely enter as the GOP’s presumptive nominee and help curtail Democrats’ hopes of winning a Senate seat in the Sunflower State for the first time since 1932.

Democrats had hoped to enlist former Health and Human Services secretary and Kansas 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, arguably the most popular Democrat in the state, to run for Roberts’s seat. However, she said in July she will not be a candidate in the race.