Political experts discuss who will take Pat Roberts' Senate seat

Published: Jan. 4, 2019 at 4:23 PM CST
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Political experts say the next two years will be an important time in Kansas.

Nate Birkhead, a political science professor at Roberts' alma mater K-State, says the next Republican primary election will be one to watch.

Birkhead says he feels confident a Republican will take Roberts' seat. The Democrats have not held a US Senate seat for Kansas since 1932.

"I think the odds are on the Republican, whoever the Republican is unless the Republican is someone as polarizing as Kris Kobach," Birkhead said. "Who was it, Kathleen Sebelius once said in Kansas Democrats don't win, Republicans lose. I think that largely fits the bill here. I would suggest that no matter who the Democrats put up to run in 2020 that they would be looking at an uphill climb."

A lot of names are already rumored to be eyeing a run.

For the Republicans, a source close to Gov. Jeff Colyer says he has not ruled it out and a spokesperson for Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who beat Colyer in the primary but lost in the governor's race to Laura Kelly, says he is thinking about it.

Wink Hartman, Kobach's running mate, and 1st District Rep. Roger Marshall both say they are seriously considering it.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Derek Schmidt told 13 NEWS he will talk with family, friends and supporters before going forward.

For the Democrats, Former U.S. Attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom is seriously considering it.

13 NEWS reached out to former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and have not heard back. She has previously said she will not run for anything again but has proven success with voters statewide. She could be active in the campaign regardless whether she is on the ballot, as Democrats have already put a fundraising alert to take the senate seat.

A few rumored names appear to be out of the race.

A source close to U.S. Secretary of State and former Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo told the Kansas City Star that he has no intention to run.

Former Congressman Todd Tiahrt, who previously lost a Senate primary to Sen. Jerry Moran, says he does not plan to run.

For the Democrats, former Wichita mayor Carl Brewer, who recently ran for governor, is out. A spokesperson for Paul Davis, who lost the congressional race to Steve Watkins, said Davis has so far not backed off his comments on election night that he will not seek another office.