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Longtime Senate Republican Retiring 24-0

Pat Roberts of Kansas, who has never lost an election, won't run again in 2020
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2019 12:29 PM CST
A December 2018 photo of Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

(Newser) – Another longtime Republican senator will call it quits in 2020. Pat Roberts of Kansas said Friday that he won't run for re-election when his term is up, reports Politico. The 82-year-old's decision comes about two weeks after Tennessee's Lamar Alexander announced the same, and the Washington Post notes that both were known for their bipartisanship. Roberts, for example, recently achieved the rare feat of getting an $867 billion agriculture bill passed with the support of all Senate Democrats. He serves as chair of the chamber's agriculture committee, and he is the only lawmaker to have done so in both the Senate and the House, reports the Kansas City Star. One interesting bit of speculation: Among those seen as possible GOP replacements is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The Post notes that Pompeo is a former Kansas congressman as well as a strong ally of President Trump, factors that would serve him well in the red state and possibly avoid a nasty primary. Pompeo has not made any public statements about wanting a Senate seat, but the newspaper says Senate leaders are interested in the possibility. Also in the mix are Rep. Roger Marshall and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. As for Roberts, he will retire with a 24-0 record in lifetime elections. “I’m damned proud of that undefeated record,” said Roberts, now in his fourth term as a senator. The GOP will likely be favored to hold onto his seat in 2020, though Democrats have new hope: Democrat Laura Kelly won the governor's race in November. (Read more Pat Roberts stories.)

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