The Buzz

Is the Kansas GOP looking at a Jerry Moran-Tim Huelskamp showdown in 2016?

Huelskamp
Huelskamp

Get a load of this:

Western Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp was asked by Roll Call last week if he plans to run for the U.S. Senate in 2016 when fellow Sunflower State Republican Jerry Moran is expected to seek another term.

His answer:

“We haven’t decided what we’re doing yet, so that’s a good question,” the conservative congressman said.

He added: “I don’t know if he (Moran) has even announced that he’s running again.”

That will be taken as a big ol’ hint that Huelskamp is getting restless in the House where he’s served since 2011.

Huelskamp would have one advantage in a primary race: He represents the best Republican district in the state. But there’s a problem. His predecessor is Jerry Moran, who represented the big 1st District for 14 years.

Moran won his Senate seat in 2010 after a brual primary fight with another conservative, former Wichita Congressman Todd Tiahrt.

Moran would be the clear-cut favorite. And his stewardship as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee the last couple of years means he racked up lots of IOUs with Republican senators across the country, who surely would rush to Moran’s aid.

Huelskamp, who’s not well-known in eastern Kansas, said he was unconcerned.

“I do well in primaries,” he said.

Huelskamp’s hint is another sign of a growing Kansas GOP problem. The party has lots of successful office-holders these days, thanks to its “clean sweep” elections in 2010 and 2014. Those office-holders are naturally ambitious people eager to move up the political ladder.

There’s only so many offices to go around.

Sen. Pat Roberts’ decision to seek a fourth Senate term this year didn’t do much to ease the logjam.

  Comments