03 Pompeo testifies 0112
CNN  — 

Mike Pompeo is definitely not running for Senate this fall.

The secretary of state said as much this winter, but it didn’t stop speculation around a last-minute entry into the GOP primary field (and public entreaties by Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump this spring). 

But now, the calendar has ended the uncertainty: Today was the deadline to enter the Senate race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. And Pompeo didn’t jump in.

Why the interest in Pompeo if he already said he wouldn’t run? As Chris wrote in January:

“Had Pompeo, who represented the state’s 4th District from 2010 to 2016, run, he would have walked to the Republican nomination and been a heavy favorite to replace retiring Sen. Pat Roberts (R) in the fall. Without him, there is now the very real possibility that former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach winds up as the GOP Senate nominee – a prospect that could imperil the seat for Republicans.” 

Five months later, those same forces are still at play – including the concern around Kobach’s candidacy, and the ongoing belief within the state in Pompeo’s electoral strength. If you’ll recall, Kobach lost the 2018 governor’s race to Democrat Laura Kelly – the first statewide Republican loss in nearly a decade. And it’s fair to assume that Kansas voters, who went for Trump by 20 points in 2016, would ostensibly stick with Trump’s well-liked secretary of state if he were down-ballot from Trump himself in November.

There is major pressure on this race. The GOP has represented Kansas in the Senate for nearly 90 years. And Republicans are increasingly worried about their chances of holding their majority in the Senate this fall. 

And instead of training their sights on their Democratic opponent, Republicans must now brace for a contentious summer slog ahead of the August 4 primary. 

The Point: Pompeo’s officially not running for the Senate – which means that Kansas Republicans are preparing for a VERY long summer.