Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that he intends to remain in his job as the nation’s top diplomat but did not rule out the possibility that he could run for Senate next year in his home state of Kansas, a step Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged him to take.
Pompeo, whose name has cropped up on the list of potential contenders to run for retiring Sen. Pat Roberts’ seat, confirmed in an interview with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum that McConnell (R-Ky.) had asked him to consider a run.
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“Lots of folks have reached out to me and suggested I ought to do it,” Pompeo said. “I have suggested to them that I have a very full plate as secretary of State and I intend to keep doing this so long as President Trump will commit to it.”
Pushed by MacCallum, he insisted that “every day I’m trying to make sure I’m doing what President Trump wants me to do to keep America safe — that’s my singular focus.”
But Pompeo also pointedly did not rule out a 2020 Senate bid, nor would he say whether he would endorse former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who lost Kansas’ gubernatorial race last year, if he decided to run for the seat, citing federal laws that bar administration officials from weighing in on political issues.
“I spoke to Sen. McConnell once; he asked me if I’d think about it, and I told him I appreciated the phone call,” Pompeo said.
POLITICO reported over the weekend that Pompeo had plans to meet with GOP strategist and former National Republican Senatorial Committee Executive Director Warren Baker to discuss a possible run. Pompeo did not confirm or deny the meeting.
The secretary of State, who previously served as CIA director and as a congressman from Kansas, reportedly considered staging a primary challenge in 2016 to Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) but ultimately decided to run again for his House seat before joining the Trump administration.