Rep. Mike Pompeo announced Monday that he will not challenge Sen. Jerry Moran in a Republican Senate primary, avoiding what would have been a major intraparty battle in Kansas between the GOP’s establishment and insurgent wings.
In an email to supporters, Pompeo did not name Moran but blasted “legacy Republican leaders” whose primary focus was the “retention of office.” But he added that he wouldn’t have had time to campaign before Kansas’ Aug. 2 primary while maintaining his congressional responsibilities.
“Kansas is a big and glorious state,” Pompeo wrote. “To simply blanket it with TV and radio ads and bombard voters with direct mail might well prove to be effective and sufficient to win in both August and November. But, it would not square with the way Susan and I view our obligation to you — nor be in the Team Pompeo tradition.”
Pompeo said he would instead seek re-election to his 4th District House seat.
The congressman made news this month when he said he was considering a challenge to Moran , citing the incumbent’s willingness to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, the chief judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, for the vacant Supreme Court slot. But a decision he indicated would be made in days stretched into weeks, and even supporters began doubting he would run. By Monday, Pompeo began calling allies to tell them he would not seek the seat.
The lawmaker took shots at Moran and the GOP establishment in his email, saying that they “engage in behavior that most of us never learn about because the insiders want to keep it to themselves.”
“In just the past three weeks — without any declaration from me that I was actually going to enter the election for Senate — former federal sleuths were hired to investigate me and my family,” Pompeo wrote. “This same campaign essentially attempted to extort Kansas elected officials into endorsing him, and ‘announced’ endorsements that did not exist — I could go on and on. Why all of this effort to distract rather than focus on policy accomplishments or his body of work on behalf of America?”
Moran did not to respond to Pompeo’s claims, but said in a statement, “I look forward to working with Congressman Pompeo and the entire Kansas Congressional Delegation to improve our state and nation for the next generation.”