KS-Sen: Jerry Moran (R) to Run for Senate – Maybe Tiahrt, Too

The first House open seat of the 2010 election:

With the 2008 election season over, Rep. Jerry Moran wasted little time taking the next step in his likely bid for higher office.

The western Kansas Republican filed paperwork Friday that allows him to accept contributions for a U.S. Senate campaign.

Moran, of Hays, has been telling constituents for months that he plans to seek the seat being vacated in 2010 by Republican Sam Brownback. His statement of candidacy filed with the Federal Election Commission and the secretary of the U.S. Senate formalizes that process.

“Jerry was on the ballot for the U.S. House for the last time,” Moran spokesman Travis Murphy said Friday. “He’s made his intentions known for some time that this was his plan.”

Don’t get your hopes up. This seat had a PVI of R+20. We don’t yet know how Obama did here, but it can’t have been great. Perhaps of greater interest to open-seat fans is this tidbit:

Moran may not be the only prominent Republican laying the groundwork for a Senate bid. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, of the Wichita area, has not ruled out such a campaign and has been traveling the state recently to raise his profile outside his south-central Kansas district.

“An open Senate seat will draw a lot of interest, and my feeling is Kansas will not have two senators from the same congressional district,” Tiahrt said Friday, a reference to Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, who also represented western Kansas before ascending to the Senate. “I can guarantee there will be others who will get into this race.”

Tiahrt swamped what had looked like a promising challenge from state Sen. Donald Betts by a punishing 64-32 margin. I wouldn’t expect this R+12 district to be much more promising as an open seat, but you never know. At the very least, another Pearce vs. Wilson-style GOP senate primary would be fun.

12 thoughts on “KS-Sen: Jerry Moran (R) to Run for Senate – Maybe Tiahrt, Too”

  1. Sebelius might try for a run (assuming she doesn’t get a cabinet position in Obama’s administration)? She has already won two state-wide contests, and would have a strong shot at winning that Senate seat.

  2. the more the merrier. Unfortunately our chances at both of those seats are very low. I hope Betts runs again anyways and learns how to raise money.

  3. Will a battle between Moran and Tiahrt help Nancy Boyda or someone else defeat the newly elected Lynn Jekins in KS-2?  Or will it help Jenkins by drawing attention from her race.

    Certainly the New Mexico slug fest between Pearce and Heather Wilson worked out great for NM Democrats who wound up with all 3 House seats and an easy Senate win.  This is much tougher ground to tread.

  4. Moran will win because it seems that KS-1 is a breeding ground for US Senators, because they can handily play the Agriculture card:  see Pat Roberts and Bob Dole.

  5. I think Sebelius won it in her first run for governor in 2002, so they are willing to, once in a blue moon, vote for a Democrat.  Her win could be due to her father-in-law, who I also believe served as its Congressman for many years.  There are a small, small handful of Democratic legislators there, so we should at least give a quick look at it.

    As for KS-04, Glickman was the last Democrat to hold it and I think there are more Democrats there.  We’ve won worse districts, so I don’t see why we don’t give a little more attention to it should Tiahrt move on.

  6. KS-04 is certainly the easier seat to pursue, but KS-01 appears to have followed the national and statewide trends of being about 5 points better for Obama than it was for Kerry. In the smallest counties McCain still pulled upwards of 80%, but in the First District’s more populous counties I’m seeing better numbers for Obama:

    Finney County (Garden City) – Kerry 23.7%, Obama 31.5%

    Ford County (Dodge City) – Kerry 25.35%, Obama 33.21%

    Geary County (split between 01 and 02) – Kerry 34.5%, Obama 42.92%

    Lyon County (Emporia)- Kerry 39%, Obama 45.6%

    Reno County (Hutchinson) – Kerry 33.36%, Obama 37.29%

    Even with a solid two years of an Obama administration, the 2010 House elections won’t be easy – certainly not in Kansas. It’s hard to imagine a climate as favorable as the last two cycles. But as everyone on this site knows, anything can happen with a good candidate. The Obama numbers represent a modicum of progress even in a deep-red district.

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