Jake LaTurner leaving US Senate race for 2nd congressional district race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP/KWCH) - Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Kansas Republican Jake LaTurner says he's bowing out of the 2020 U.S. Senate race.

The Wall Street Journal reports LaTurner has instead chosen to face off against incumbent Rep. Steve Watkins in the 2nd congressional district seat.

According to WSJ, LaTurner said he’s running to ensure the district remains in Republican hands.

The move comes less than a month after former Gov. Jeff Colyer suggested LaTurner challenge Watkins because the district's voters "deserve to be represented by someone who shares their values."

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Former Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer is calling for a GOP primary challenger for freshman Rep. Steve Watkins in his eastern Kansas district.

Colyer on Tuesday urged state Treasurer Jake LaTurner to drop out of next year's U.S. Senate race in Kansas and run for Watkins' congressional seat.

Colyer issued a statement saying the district's voters are "solid, conservative folks" who deserve to be represented by someone sharing their values. Colyer spokesman Colton Gibson said the former Republican governor is concerned that Watkins cannot win re-election next year.

Watkins is a former Army officer who won the seat in 2018 by less than a percentage point as a political unknown. President Donald Trump carried the district easily in 2016.

Watkins' spokesman and LaTurner's campaign did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

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Monday, August 26, 2019

Former Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer is not running for the U.S. Senate next year.

The ex-Republican governor made the announcement Monday. He said he is doing "interesting things" in the private sector and medicine.

Colyer is a reconstructive plastic surgeon and a recently named fellow for fall 2019 at the Institute of Politics and Public Service at his alma mater of Georgetown University.

He served as governor in 2018 after being elevated from lieutenant governor when then-GOP Gov. Sam Brownback resigned to take an ambassador's post. Colyer narrowly lost last year's Republican gubernatorial primary to then-Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Kobach lost the general election but is now part of an already crowded field for the U.S. Senate race. Four-term GOP Sen. Pat Roberts is not seeking re-election in 2020.

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