WASHINGTON (WIBW and KWCH) — Update - 1/25/18:
Governor Sam Brownback sent a letter to the Secretary of State announcing his resignation effective 3 p.m. CST on Wednesday, January 31, 2018.
In the letter, the governor says while he'll always call Kansas home, he looks forward to continuing in public service as the United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.
I am resigning as Governor effective 3:00pm CST on January 31. It has been a great honor to serve and represent Kansans for most of my adult life. Thank you for this opportunity to serve, and may God Bless our great state and nation. #ksleg pic.twitter.com/JpG0DSTK9L— Sam Brownback (@govsambrownback) January 25, 2018
The Senate narrowly confirmed Brownback's nomination by President Donald Trump on Wednesday. Vice President Mike Pence was the deciding vote that helped break the 49-49 tie.
Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer will serve out the remainder of Brownback's term. He has released his swearing-in schedule which includes mass at his alma mater Thomas Moore Prep, lunch at Al’s Chickenette and swearing-in ceremony in the Capitol rotunda at 3 p.m.
He also already announced his plan to run for the governor's seat in November.
Update 9 p.m.:
Kansas soon will have a new governor after the U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed Sam Brownback's nomination to serve in the Trump administration as Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom.
The governor's transition to the new role positions Kansas Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer to take over the top spot.
Wednesday, the vote to confirm Brownback's nomination came down to a tie broken by Vice President Mike Pence.
"The thing I'm really pleased about is the Trump administration willing to aggressively engage this important topic because a lot of places will talk about it but they won't aggressively address it," Brownback says of his new post.
Wednesday, the governor reflected on his approximate seven years leading Kansas in Topeka.
"When I go through the list of things we were able to address, the problems the state had, I'm very pleased with it," Brownback says.
He says the school finance issue remains "the biggest piece out there" for legislators to effectively solve.
With an election looming at the end of the year, Colyer is hoping to retain his position as governor beyond the short term. Some think he could have a difficult time building up the recognition he needs for a victory.
"They would've much preferred that Brownback had been comfirmed back in 2017 and Colyer would've had a year and a half as governor to build up a record to run on, or to hand the baton over to whoever becomes the Republican's nominee," says Friends University political science professor, Dr. Russell Arben Fox.
Colyer released a statement congratulating Brownback on his new appointment and looking ahead to serving a new role for Kansas.
"The next step will become clear within the next few days as the governor prepares to go off to serve in his new position and I prepare to take the reins as the 47th Governor of the State of Kansas," Colyer said. "I am excited to get to work listening, serving, and leading on behalf of the people of Kansas."
Wednesday, Governor Brownback said the plan is to announce the timelines for the leadership transition in Kansas some time Thursday.
Update 5:15 p.m.:
The Senate Wednesday confirmed Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's nomination as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.
The 98 senators present were deadlocked at 49 votes apiece. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in Brownback's favor, securing the Kansas governor's nomination to the federal post.
Thank you to @POTUS, @VP, and all the Senators who supported my nomination. I'm looking forward to starting my new position as Ambassador and working hard for the American people and religious freedom around the world. #ksleg— Sam Brownback (@govsambrownback) January 24, 2018
After the vote, Pence tweeted out that Brownback would be important in helping to end relgious persecution.
"I recently returned from the Middle East where I discussed the important issue of ending religious persecution with our allies in Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. Amb. Brownback will be instrumental on this important issue," he said.
I recently returned from the Middle East where I discussed the important issue of ending religious persecution with our allies in Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. Amb. Brownback will be instrumental on this important issue. pic.twitter.com/2GF37w6NWz— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) January 24, 2018
President Trump first nominated Brownback for the ambassador's post in July. Brownback had to be renominated by the president because he was not confirmed by the Senate after Democrats refused to allow his nomination and dozens more to roll over into the new year.
Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer will succeed Brownaback as Kansas governor.
Gov. Sam Brownback's nomination for an ambassadorship just took a major step forward. On Wednesday, the Senate voted to end debate on his nomination for Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.
The measure passed 50 to 49. Vice-president Mike Pence had to be called to the Senate floor to cast the deciding vote.
Senate Maj. Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced a final vote will be at 4 p.m. CST to confirm the Kansas Republican.
If Brownback were to be confirmed, he has already indicated he would step down, ceding the governor's office to Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer. In a news conference about school choice, Brownback said once he was confirmed, he would set a date for his resignation.
While most cloture votes requires 60 votes, Brownback only needed a simple majority to end debate.
Trump first nominated Brownback for the ambassador's post in July, but his appointment has faced opposition from Democrats and LGBT groups.
Brownback would resign if he is confirmed. Fellow Republican Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer would be elevated to governor.