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Pompeo won’t challenge Moran in Kansas Senate race, but exits with blistering criticism of the incumbent

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan.
Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Rep. Mike Pompeo said Monday he won’t challenge Sen. Jerry Moran in a Republican Senate primary in Kansas — then took several nasty and barely-disguised swipes at Moran in a lengthy statement to supporters.

Pompeo, a Republican from Wichita, said there isn’t enough time to run an effective Senate campaign this year. “The window for our kind of campaign is closed,” he wrote.

But there are several apparent references to Moran in Pompeo’s statement.

“It is … absurd to defend one’s record in the Senate by telling constituents how many town halls you’ve held,” Pompeo’s statement said. “It’s the difference between motion and progress. Listening lacks value if no actions follow.”

Pompeo said he considered a race because Moran said he might consider Merrick Garland for the U.S. Supreme Court, a statement Moran quickly withdrew.

Pompeo: “As I watched this waffling up close, I began to contemplate a Senate run.”

The congressman said investigators started looking into his background once rumors of a potential campaign became public. “This same campaign essentially attempted to extort Kansas elected officials into endorsing him, and ‘announced’ endorsements that did not exist — I could go on and on.”

In a statement, Moran said: “I look forward to working with Congressman Pompeo and the entire Kansas Congressional Delegation to improve our state and nation for the next generation.”

Rep. Kevin Yoder was also expected to file for re-election Monday to his 3rd District seat in Kansas.

A news release from the Yoder campaign said the filing would come mid-morning.

Two Democrats — Nathaniel McLaughlin and Reggie Marselus — have filed for the seat. Neither is widely known. Steve Hohe has filed with the FEC as a Libertarian candidate.

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