As Republicans look to hold on to their majority control in the U.S. Senate, one surefire step in making that happen was the possibility of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo running for a Kansas seat in 2020. However, Pompeo informed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday that he’s no longer interested.
According to The Hill, the secretary of state, who has previously served in the House of Representatives and has a strong political and military background, was seen as a practical slam-dunk that would give the GOP one less Senate seat to worry about losing in 2020.
But in the wake of the surprise drone strike that resulted in the death of Iranian military commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani — which escalated tensions between the United States and Iran to unprecedented levels — Pompeo reportedly told Republican party officials that he won’t be seeking the open seat, as reported by The New York Times.
The California native served as a representative of Kansas’ fourth congressional district from 2011-2017. He also completed a distinguished career as a U.S. military officer, as well as a brief stint as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2017 to mid-2018.
Pompeo’s apparent exit from the 2020 race leaves the Kansas Senate seat vulnerable, as the remaining Republican candidates aren’t necessarily seen as strong enough contenders to ensure a 2020 win — at least not at the level of assuredness that Pompeo would have provided.
Other GOP candidates in the running for the Senate seat include Kris Kobach, who ran a failed bid for the Kansas governorship in the 2018 election. The Hill reported that Kobach is able to muster support from the more conservative voters in the state but seems to have trouble with moderates and independents.
McConnell reportedly believes that a Kobach nomination will allow Democrats to grab the win, with Sen. Barbara Bollier — a former member of the Republican party and presumably popular with moderates — as the likely Democratic nominee.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Pompeo drew criticism from Ben Rhodes — a top national security aide in the Barack Obama administration — in the wake of President Donald Trump’s drone strike on Soleimani after the secretary of state essentially blamed Obama for the rocky relationship between the United States and Iran.
While appearing on Fox News Sunday, Pompeo claimed that Obama put the United States in a position of acting as a “quasi-ally” with Iran, which later led to the death of Americans at Iran’s hands due to the number of militias backed by the country.
Rhodes ripped Pompeo for the accusation, calling it “a lie, offensive, obscene and an absolute disgrace.”
“This man and his boss have destroyed America’s reputation and made a shambles of Iran policy in part because of their pathetic obsession with Barack Obama who they will never, ever measure up to,” Rhodes tweeted in response.