There may be one domestic upside from the tensions with Iran—it’s keeping Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from running for Senate.
The New York Times reported Monday that Pompeo told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—who wanted Pompeo to run for Senate in Kansas—that he would remain as secretary of state for the rest of 2020. [Mike Pompeo Is Said to Decide Against Running for Senate in Kansas, by Maggie Haberman, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, New York Times, January 6, 2019] Pompeo reportedly told McConnell it would be “irresponsible” to leave his job amid tensions with Iran and his departure would hurt his presidential ambitions in 2024.
The filing deadline for the Kansas Senate race is in June, but sources told the Times it’s unlikely Pompeo will change his mind in the meantime. Pompeo was the favored candidate of the GOP establishment and reportedly of Trump as well.
The main beneficiary of this news is immigration patriot Kris Kobach. Kobach is the current frontrunner in the race, in spite of vicious opposition from the establishment. He has a good shot of winning the nomination with Pompeo out of the race. All polls show Kobach well ahead of his competitors. The only one who closely matches Kobach’s support is Pompeo.
A poll conducted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee—which despises Kobach—found Kobach leads the GOP field with 43 percent support. U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall was a distant second at 24 percent support. However, the NRSC poll claimed that Kobach’s support would evaporate if Pompeo entered the race. In that hypothetical, 54 percent of GOP voters would support Pompeo while only 17 percent would back Kobach. [GOP Poll: Kobach Would Win Kansas Senate Primary, Unless Pompeo Jumps In, by Lindsay Wise, The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2019]
However, a poll conducted by the Free Forever PAC that same month showed Kobach and Pompeo in a dead heat at 26 percent. That same poll also shows Kobach as the clear frontrunner without Pompeo.
2020 Kansas Senate - Republican Primary:— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) December 22, 2019
Undecided 30%@trafalgar_group / Free Forever PAC 12/3-11https://t.co/FpjoVBNTrr #KSsen
With Pompeo out of the way, Kobach can rest easy knowing Trump likely won’t endorse any of his opponents. This is his race to win.