Huelskamp Open to Moran Primary Challenge
Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., is not ruling out a primary challenge to Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., in 2016.
“We haven’t decided what we’re doing yet, so that’s a good question,” Huelskamp told CQ Roll Call when asked if he was considering a Senate bid.
Asked if he thought he would be competitive in the primary, Huelskamp, “We’ve done very well with conservatives. But now, that’s a long time down the road.”
“I don’t know if he has even announced that he’s running again,” he added in between Tuesday votes on Capitol Hill. Moran would be the heavy favorite in a primary because he’s well known and relatively popular throughout the state. And while Sunflower State politics have been tumultuous of late, with Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., facing an unexpectedly tough re-election , Moran starts in a stronger position than Roberts.
Specifically, Roberts was criticized for not spending time in the state, while Moran visits Kansas often. He is in the midst of a listening tour during which he plans to hold events in all 105 counties. After next week, he will have hit 75 of the 105 counties.
Moran’s office declined to comment on Huelskamp. He has indicated he will seek another term.
This past cycle, Moran served as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which oversaw majority-making gains for the GOP. The committee also backed incumbents over primary challengers, angering some conservatives.
Huelskamp had his own primary problems in the 1st District last cycle. Some of the agricultural groups in his large, rural district refused to endorse him in 2014, in part because of his opposition to the renewable fuel standard. House Leadership also kicked him off the House Agriculture Committee two years ago.
He went on to win the GOP nomination over a poorly funded political newcomer by 10 points, and Kansas Republicans expect Huelskamp will get a very competitive primary challenge in 2016.
Huelskamp said he was unconcerned.
“I do well in primaries,” he said. “Some guy’s out there, multimillionaire, wants to spend money against me cause he’s pretty liberal, I guess, but that was just one primary. But we did fine this year.”
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