Fear of Kobach and 2020 ‘disaster’ drive Pompeo recruitment, say GOP strategists | McClatchy Washington Bureau

mcclatchydc | 1/22/2019 | Staff
chrismpottschrismpotts (Posted by) Level 3
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Fear that Kris Kobach will capture the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate is driving the effort to recruit Secretary of State Mike Pompeo into the race, according to GOP strategists with ties to Kansas.

“No one wants to relive the disaster that was the Kobach campaign,” said David Kensinger, who has managed successful statewide campaigns for Republican Sen. Pat Roberts and former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

Kensinger - Attempts - Pompeo - Line - Presidency

Kensinger said attempts to entice Pompeo, who is fourth in line to the presidency as the nation’s top diplomat, to run to replace the retiring Roberts can absolutely be traced to concerns about a possible Senate run by Kobach, the party’s 2018 nominee for governor.

Kobach supporters are active. The political action committee set up to support Kobach’s failed bid for governor has been conducting phone polling in recent weeks on his favorability among GOP voters in anticipation of a possible Senate bid.

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Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state, lost by nearly 5 percentage points to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly last year in one of the nation’s most Republican states. He ended his campaign with a deficit of nearly $30,000 after relying primarily on financial support from his running mate Wink Hartman, a Wichita oil magnate who is also weighing a Senate bid.

GOP - Strategists - Disorganization - Kobach - Campaign

GOP strategists have decried the disorganization of Kobach’s campaign for governor and his penchant for courting controversy, but he remains popular with the party’s base and still frequently speaks to President Donald Trump, according to his former campaign manager.

“I think Kris Kobach would be a formidable candidate and emerge the winner of a contested primary,” said J.R. Claeys, the Republican state representative who managed Kobach’s campaign for governor.

Trump - Support - Kobach - Gov - Jeff

Trump’s support helped elevate Kobach over former Gov. Jeff Colyer in one of the closest primary races in U.S. history and would be a huge asset...
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