On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ruled out his possible candidacy for a soon-to-be vacated U.S. Senate seat in his home state of Kansas. In addition to his prior service as CIA Director, Pompeo had also served as a Wichita-area U.S. Congressman for six years.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), who has served in the Senate since 1997, announced last month that he will not seek reelection in 2020.
The former Kansas congressman and CIA director had dodged questions about whether he planned on running in 2020 to claim the seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Pat Roberts, fueling speculation that he might by attending certain events and meeting with GOP operatives in the state.
But on NBC's "Today" show on Thursday, the secretary of state threw cold water on the prospect, telling anchor Craig Melvin "it’s ruled out."
"I love Kansas. I'm going to be the secretary of State as long as President Trump gives me the opportunity to serve as America’s senior diplomat," Pompeo said. "I love doing what I'm doing and I have 75,000 great warriors out and around the world trying to deliver for the American people."
Pompeo had previously confirmed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had asked him to consider a 2020 Senate run, but Pompeo had otherwise previously been noncommittal as to whether he might leave the Executive Branch to return to the realm of elected office.
"Lots of folks have reached out to me and suggested I ought to do it," Pompeo told Fox News last month, according to NBC News today. "I have suggested to them that I have a very full plate as Secretary of State and I intend to keep doing this so long as President Trump will commit to it."
The Kansas City Star's lede opines that a "giant obstacle has been cleared from the path of Kansas politicians" who are interested in pursuing Roberts' soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat, but otherwise would have been deterred by the presence in the race of a nationally prominent figure like Pompeo.
One possibly intriguing name for conservatives may be FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who is a 46-year-old Kansas native with degrees from Harvard and the University of Chicago. Pai's leadership for the Trump Administration in rolling back the FCC's cumbersome net neutrality regulatory framework has earned him heaps of scorn from the Left, but no shortage of praise from the Right. He is well-liked and respected by many grassroots conservatives.
In December 2017, following FCC Commisioners' 3-2 procedural vote that set the wheels in motion for net neutrality's demise and thereby made Pai the bête noire of large swathes of the Left-leaning tech nerd cognoscenti, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro mocked the Left's hyperbolic reaction:
The level of panic set off by the end of net neutrality is utterly out of proportion to the actual effect that end is likely to have. The basic debate over net neutrality is actually a reasonable one: is the best way to ensure a better internet for consumers to ban internet service providers (ISPs) from charging certain content providers more for their use of bandwidth than others, or is it to free ISPs to charge what they want, thereby incentivizing ISPs to compete with one another to offer different services at different prices? ...
This is a reasonable debate. Here’s what’s not reasonable: the suggestion that your internet use is likely to change radically from what it was in 2015, before net neutrality went into effect. Here’s what else isn’t reasonable: people of the Left who think that Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter operate fine in the free market, and that consumers don’t have to worry about discrimination thanks to open competition, but that the same doesn’t apply to ISPs.