Over the past several weeks, I’ve sought to determine if I could best serve America and Kansas by entering the race for the U.S. Senate seat that stands for election in November of this year. Many, many of you have been so supportive of Susan and me as we’ve worked our way through our decision. For that, we are most grateful.
I’ve heard it repeatedly from nearly all of you, and see it for myself, that America is in a historically challenging place: tragically low economic opportunity for our young people due to anemic economic growth; a pressing threat from radical Islamic terrorism that, rightly, weighs on us all; a previously unparalleled anti-small business environment and a massive distrust. Add an all-time high level of frustration with government as a direct result of leaders refusing to shoot straight with those they are charged to represent and it is crystal clear why there is anger daily playing out in the Presidential campaign.
Kansans and all Americans are tired of elected leaders that are too lazy, too ineffective and too fearful to speak truth about what is required to return America to its rightful place. Much as I was critical of Hillary Clinton when she defended her record as Secretary of State by telling us how many hundreds of thousands of miles she has flown, it is equally absurd to defend one’s record in the Senate by telling constituents how many town halls you’ve held. It’s the difference between motion and progress. Listening lacks value if no actions follow. The absence of positive outcomes fuels frustration and anger.
I started exploring a potential run for the United States Senate for this same reason: conflicting messages were sent about considering President Obama’s liberal Supreme Court nominee that would change the court for the worse for decades to come. The next generation deserves better. Filling this vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court is the transgenerational issue of our time. No fight is more worth having. The Senate cannot fold again on this one. As I watched this waffling up close, I began to contemplate a Senate run.
When my potential candidacy became public, I got an up close and personal look at the Republican political establishment, some of them right here in Kansas. These insiders told me “don’t rock the boat” and “wait your turn” and they worked diligently to avoid competition.
But, it’s never been about me. I only know that America needs action now. I now also know that the legacy Republican leaders engage in behavior that most of us never learn about because the insiders want to keep it to themselves. In just the past three weeks — without any declaration from me that I was actually going to enter the election for Senate — former federal sleuths were hired to investigate me and my family. 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. Why all of this effort to distract rather than focus on policy accomplishments or his body of work on behalf of America?
Some of you will read this and characterize those actions I just described as “politics as usual.” You’re probably right; however, it need not be and it should not be. The usual cannot stand. These are not the actions of a strong leader, but rather of an officeholder for whom the retention of office is his primary focus. These actions represent a tired Republican party that refuses to acknowledge its shortcomings.
Notwithstanding all of this, I have chosen not to enter the race for the U.S. Senate — and here’s why. The 85 days remaining before the first votes are cast plus my especially consuming commitments to current duties on the Benghazi Committee, the House Intelligence Committee and a new investigatory Intelligence Task Force will preclude the kind of campaign that Kansans deserve and of which they would be justifiably proud — a “Team Pompeo” campaign! Kansas is a big and glorious state. To simply blanket it with TV and radio ads and bombard voters with direct mail might well prove to be effective and sufficient to win in both August and November. But, it would not square with the way Susan and I view our obligation to you—nor be in the Team Pompeo tradition.
When I first decided to leave my work running a small company here in Kansas to serve in Congress, I ran a campaign that touched many thousands of people, organized by volunteers who shared my vision of an America that rewards hard work, lifts unnecessary burdens from businesses and runs a solvent government. We literally touched thousands: shook their hands, looked them in the eye and listened. We held meet and greets — some with two people and some with forty people — six days a week, multiple times each day. We did dozens and dozens of community events and forums and debates. We listened and learned from the people of Kansas, and we loved it. That learning has served me well in Congress and led to action — and everyone on Team Pompeo gained friendships that we will have for the rest of our lives. Our campaigns are driven by truth, authenticity and faith. The time remaining between now and the election will simply not permit us to do this all across the State—we would be forced to short cut. We would want all Kansans to experience and get to know us through a full Team Pompeo campaign and the window for our kind of campaign is closed.
I will, today, file for re-election to the House of Representatives and seek to continue to represent the people of Kansas Fourth Congressional District with my full energy and commitment. I will ask for your vote and humbly respect the decision that Kansans make about whether I’ve lived up to the promises I have made to each of you. I hope that voters everywhere seek to send candidates to Washington who reflect the best of America at her founding and today—smart, hard-working and willing to fight for the things that matter.
I have been privileged to serve the people of Kansas over the last few years and strive every day to represent them in a way worthy of the trust they have placed in me.
P.S. Be watching for new 2016 Team Pompeo gear—coming soon!