Kansas City Star to Pompeo: 'Focus on your day job' or launch Senate bid

Kansas City Star to Pompeo: 'Focus on your day job' or launch Senate bid

A top local newspaper is calling on Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Lawmakers tear into Pentagon over .8B for border wall | Dems offer bill to reverse Trump on wall funding | Senators urge UN to restore Iran sanctions Former Laura Bush staffer decries Taliban's treatment of women amid peace deal Bipartisan Senate resolution would urge UN to renew Iran arms embargo, travel restrictions MORE to definitively declare if he is running for a Senate seat in Kansas, saying he should either launch his campaign or focus on his “day job.”

“If Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is running to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsRepublicans give Barr vote of confidence On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Kobach says he discussed his Senate bid with Trump MORE, Republican of Kansas, then he should quit his rather important day job and do that,” The Kansas City Star’s editorial board wrote following a visit from Pompeo to Kansas this week.

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“Or if, as he told The Star and The Wichita Eagle in a testy, credulity-straining interview on Thursday, he isn’t even thinking about it, then he should by all means focus on U.S. diplomacy — remember diplomacy? — and stop hanging out here every chance he gets.”

GOP leaders have urged Pompeo to run for the Kansas Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Pat Roberts (R), though he has not indicated if he will follow the urging of his Republican colleagues. 

“I’ve had conversations with Secretary Pompeo. Certainly the conversations have revolved in part about this issue,” Kansas Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' The 8 Republicans who voted to curb Trump's Iran war powers MORE (R) told local reporters las month. “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.”

Many in the GOP fear that a possible nomination of former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a conservative firebrand who has staked out hardline positions on immigration and election fraud, could jeopardize their chances of keeping the must-win seat in the Republican column in 2020 after he lost the governor’s race last year.

“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.

Should Pompeo ultimately choose 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 Kansas for the first time since 1932.

However, The Star urged Pompeo to end speculation among Kansas voters and commit to either leading the State Department or running for Senate. 

The Star said if Pompeo is indeed running to replace Roberts, he will “have to drop the put-upon posture and answer the many valid questions that a Senate run would require with less attitude and more truthfulness.”