December 17th, 2008
02:05 PM ET
5 years ago

Second GOP senator to announce retirement

Brownback will not run for re-election.
Brownback will not run for re-election.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Sam Brownback will announce Thursday he is retiring from the Senate when his term ends in 2010, allowing the Kansas Republican to explore a run for governor.

He will be the second GOP senator this year to publicly state he is leaving at the close of the 111th Congress.

Brownback, who unsuccessfully sought the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, will not reveal his future political plans during the three news conferences planned for Thursday in Kansas. But a source close to Brownback said he will file gubernatorial paperwork in January.

Under Kansas law, by waiting until next month Brownback will not have to disclose how much money he has raised until early January 2010. Brownback, a prominent figure in conservative circles, is expected to tap into a national fundraising base established during his years in the Senate as well as his failed presidential bid.

Brownback arrived in the Senate in 1996, winning a special election to fill the two remaining years of Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole’s term after the Kansas Republican resigned to focus on his presidential bid. Brownback, who pledged in that campaign to only serve two terms, went on to win re-election in 1998 and 2004. Philip Blumel, president of U.S. Term Limits, will join Brownback at the news conferences to thank him for abiding by “his pledge not to serve a third term in the U.S. Senate,” according to a news release from that organization.

Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh, a Republican, is currently raising money as he explores his own campaign for governor.

Several candidates are considered likely Senate successors for Brownback, including Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, as well as two House Republicans, Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt.

Brownback will join Florida Sen. Mel Martinez as the second Republican senator to announce his retirement following the 2008 elections. Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is exploring her own 2010 gubernatorial bid; if she decides to run, it would create a third open Republican seat in 2010. Democrats, who gained at least eight Senate seats in the 2008 elections, only have to defend 15 seats in 2010, while Republicans have to protect 19.

Democrats currently hold a 58 to 41 seat edge over Republicans in the chamber with the Minnesota contest between GOP Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken still unresolved.


Filed under: Kansas • Sam Brownback
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. ran

    I can only hope the great people of Kansas will not allow this person to be their next Gov. At least he will be out of the senate where his far right ideals help to put us in the crisis we have today. I say good rid ens and hope your political career is over.

    December 17, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. BUSH BEGONE

    It

    December 17, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  3. Jackie in Dallas

    Interesting. Looks like Republicans are now thinking that they must be a governor of a state to run for President. However, I admire that he lived up to his pledge to limit his own terms, although technically, he had three. You really should count the term he finished out for Dole as the first. However, technically he only ran twice...

    December 17, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. NY republican

    At least he will be true to his committment to his constituents before he moves up, or on or whatever he moves too. Hillary and Barack could learn a lot from this.

    December 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. BUSH BEGONE

    It would appear more and more Republicans see dim futures in 2010 and appear to be willing to explore other career avenues!

    December 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. ernesto

    sebelius should run...she would easily win one more spot for the democrats.

    December 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. Scott NYC Independent

    The GOP's old guard is losing all its soliders. They insist on false negative attacks and creating controversy where there isn't any. They make innuendo out of air and demonstrate wide spread hipocrisy in almost every policy position they take. Those that want a political future are quietly leaving and I'd not be surprised if they were thinking of changing party.

    December 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. ernesto

    sebelius should run...she would easily win one more spot for the democrats.

    December 17, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. Scott NYC Independent

    The GOP's old guard is losing all its soliders. They insist on false negative attacks and creating controversy where there isn't any. They make innuendo out of air and demonstrate wide spread hipocrisy in almost every policy position they take. Those that want a political future are quietly leaving and I'd not be surprised if they were thinking of changing party.

    December 17, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. aliceblue

    Yay!

    Get rid of nutty Brownback and Kathleen Sebelius can run for his seat!

    Come on, Kansas! You can do it!

    December 17, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Scott NYC Independent

    The GOP's old guard is losing all its soliders. They insist on false negative attacks and creating controversy where there isn't any. They make innuendo out of air and demonstrate wide spread hipocrisy in almost every policy position they take. Those that want a political future are quietly leaving and I'd not be surprised if they were thinking of changing party.

    December 17, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. TyWebb

    Palin / Brownback 2012 – ha ha!

    December 17, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. Carli

    Thank god, America deserves better than this clown

    December 17, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Carli

    Thank god, America deserves better than this clown

    December 17, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Stacy from Leesburg VA

    Wow, is every GOP senator stepping down? It's Kansas, so a pretty safe bet to stay Repub.

    December 17, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. chuck

    THIS FAT CAT POCKETS ARE FILLED TO OVERFLOWING.HE SHOULD BE LOOKED AT VERY CLOSELY BY THE FEDS.

    December 17, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. BS not Maverick

    Sen Bownknows will fail.

    December 17, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. FreeNLovIt

    Hmm... yeah, when the economy tanks and there's no money left in the piggy bank, you have all these ELEPHANTS, jumping the ship.

    December 17, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. Craig in Washington

    He probably found out there are a few gay members of Congress and he wants to get out in case it's contagious.

    December 17, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. matt

    I think if Sebelius runs for this seat she would win. I lived in KS for 2 years and she is a very impressive and well respected leader. The fact that she has taken herself out of consideration for various Cabinet postings to me signals a possible interest in this seat when her term is up in 2010.

    December 17, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  21. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    Senator Sebelius.....................it has a nice ring to it!

    Sebelius in 2010!

    December 17, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  22. Daniel Smith

    Screw that. Obama/Biden again in 2012!!!

    December 17, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. obama-mama

    Who cares. Get to steppin

    December 17, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. Peter (CA)

    Well, we knew this for some time. Already been talk of Sebellius running for the spot. Wonder why Brownback is leaving if he wants to stay in politics anyway.

    December 17, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. Rick

    How does he know there's no such thing as evolution? He looks in the mirror every day and sees a neanderthal.

    December 17, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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