TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Republicans have held both U.S. Senate seats in Kansas for the last 80 years.
Longtime Senator Pat Roberts isn’t running for re-election next year.
There are 14 months until the primary, and right now there’s only one candidate, but soon the field is expected to get a lot bigger.
Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner has been campaigning for the position since January.
“We were the first in the race, and we think that’s important and an advantage to be able to get across the state, talk to like-minded voters,” said LaTurner.
“We’ve been able to do that, we’re getting a great response because people want a conservative fighter in the U.S. Senate.”
More candidates are expected to join the race in the coming months. The Republican and Democratic races could look very different.
On the Republican side, there are some very big names possibly running, people who hold office, people who’ve held office,” said political analyst Bob Beatty.
“In Kansas there are not a lot of Democrats who are in office, we have Sharice Davids, a congresswoman, we have Laura Kelly, a governor, they are not going to run for Senate and give up their seats,” he said.
Beatty said the Republican list could include Congressman Roger Marshall, Senate President Susan Wagle, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Kansas Chamber of Commerce President Alan Cobb, former Governor Jeff Colyer, and former Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
The Democratic side could have former U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom and former Congresswoman Nancy Boyda.
“If a Democrat were to win, every six years that Democrat would be fighting tooth and nail to keep that job, not really so true for a Republican, it’s very possible a Republican could win the 2020 Kansas Senate seat and be there for 20 or 30 years,” said Beatty.
Two names that could shake up the race are former Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a Republican.
LaTurner, also a Republican, said he welcomes any competition.
“There’s always sharp elbows in politics, I’ve experienced that before, there’s going to be some of that this race, that’s okay. It’s important to give voters a choice in this election,” he said.
The primary will be held in August 2020.