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) MoranIt's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number Overnight Defense: Top diplomat changes testimony to indicate quid pro quo | Dem offers measure on Turkish human rights abuses in Syria | Warren offers plan to address veteran suicide rates Senate bill takes aim at 'secret' online algorithms MORE (R-Kan.) said Wednesday he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIran lays foundation for second nuclear plant: report Pompeo knocks Iran's treatment of UN nuclear inspector Reagan statue unveiled near site where he called for Gorbachev to 'tear down' Berlin Wall 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 RobertsEleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid Pressure builds on Pompeo as impeachment inquiry charges ahead GOP lawmakers fear Trump becoming too consumed by impeachment fight MORE (R-Kan.).

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week 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 TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem 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.