Signs continue to point to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo running for the Senate come 2020.
The latest indication: reports that he planned to meet Sunday afternoon with veteran Republican strategist Ward Baker to discuss a possible campaign to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas. Roberts, a Republican, said earlier this month, that he would not seek re-election in 2020.
The meeting between Pompeo and Baker, which was first reported by Politico, comes as Republican leaders including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are aggressively wooing the secretary of state to run for the open seat. Pompeo, who previously served as a congressman from Kansas, has not made a decision on whether or not he will run, but his aides have said he's in no rush to make a call anytime soon.
“Secretary Pompeo is focused on serving the President and keeping Americans safe as the Secretary of State," Robert Palladino, a deputy spokesperson for the State Department, told The Hill.
Pompeo’s departure from the Trump administration, where he served first as CIA director before he took over at the State Department in April of last year, would be seen as a significant loss to the president. Trump and Pompeo have become close and the president has come to rely increasingly on Pompeo, after having a touchy relationship with his former secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.
This is not the first time that Pompeo has mulled running for a Senate seat in Kansas. In 2016, Pompeo considered a Republican primary bid against Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran but ultimately decided against it.
While Democrats made inroads in Kansas during the 2018 midterm elections – capturing both the governorship and a congressional seat – Republicans are still heavily favored to maintain the seat being vacated by Roberts. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report currently has the 2020 Senate race in the state going “likely Republican.”