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

Second GOP senator to announce retirement

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Cathy Brandes

    I grew up in Kansas and still call it home. I am hoping the voters are smarter than to elect Sam Brownback as their governor and he should not be allowed anywhere near the White House!

    December 17, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. Ed Banks

    Sam Brownback is among few extremist far right lunatics that are bent on dividing this great nation to maintain power. He and his goons in the so called evangelicals have used fear and lies to destroy our economy and values around the world. It is a good news that he is going away to make way for Gov. Sebelius.

    Perhaps Sen. Brownbacks's absence will help him realize that we have a dmocracy here in US and not a theocracy. The racist christian far-right have advocated for US to become a christian nation while condemning Islamic nations in the middle east. Even when this hypocrisy is so blatant and disgraceful, they will continue with the lies.

    I cant' wait to see a government that is run by secular candidates who will not alienate the poor, the weak, blacks, hispanics, aliens, moslems, and other minorites among us. GOP led by the likes of Sam Brownback have peddled racism, incited raw hate among the lowest common denominators and used deception to win elections. Hopefully, he has seem the light that American ideals are larger than obsession over gay people and abortionists. We are a nation of all colors and creeds, anything short of this, is a banana republic worst that our enemies.

    December 17, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. Fernandez

    I think it is time to have term limits for Senators (two terms). I am hoping the guys that are now serving four, five six terms will learn form Sam.

    December 17, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |

    they right-wing republican blowhards are all droping like flies....they've finally realized that this is the 21st century; where middle-america CANNOT continue to impose their antquated values on ordinary americans!!!!!

    December 17, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Proud American from New England

    Praise the lorD.

    December 17, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. Uncle S.A.M.-Virginia

    Wow. Christmas has arrived early. How about the whole GOP dissapear for at least the next 16 years.

    December 17, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. peter, Florida

    Jebb Bush/Sarah Palin 2012

    All we need in 2012 is another Bush in the Whitehouse to clear out all the Jahdist extremists once and for all.After that all the rests can have their saying.

    December 17, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Alan

    I spent most of my life in Kansas. Brownback is a joke. A clown. He and Palin would fit well together.

    December 17, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. Linda Va

    No Palin, No way, No how

    December 17, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. obama-mama

    Maybe brownback is on his way to brokeback mountain

    December 17, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. WILL IN AZ


    December 17, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. cat

    I hope a independent get the seat. but if not any one but republican.

    December 17, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. Rick

    You gullible and naive democrats are going to ride your "tolerance" horse right to your grave. Wake up.

    December 17, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Becky, Kansas

    Maybe Brownback and Sebeilus can change places? Sam's a right wing wacko. He can try to run for governor but he will never get in.

    December 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. montag

    Brownback is retiring?

    There IS a God.

    December 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. Mike in Denver

    When I lived in Kansas I briefly got to meet both KS Senators (Brownback and Roberts). Roberts was a really thoughtful considered guy. Although I disagree with him on some issues, I respect the guy. Brownback, not so much. He truly seemed to be the consummate superficial politician.

    I certainly haven't met Palin, but based on what I've seen and heard of her, Brownback does seem pretty Palinesque.

    December 17, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. Frederick in VA

    I get the impression that many of the liberal Obama supporters on here are going to rant and rave and hate on anyone who isn't gay or supports gays....

    December 17, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. Phil in KC

    I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I'm glad to have him out of Washington. On the other, I don't like having him that close. I live on the MO side of the border, thank God, but I like Sebelius and would hate to see him displace her. KS is SO conservative, it's a distinct possibility. And, I really don't think it's likely that a Democrat can take that seat when he does step down. I'd rather just see him retire, period.

    December 17, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. Ian from Kansas

    It's kind of scary thinking Brownback will run for Governor. Kansans love this guy. Not looking forward to this.

    December 17, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. Lori

    Keep on dropping like flies GOP!!! Your racist, backwards, and negative policies, values and ideas are outdated in this new century. Good riddance!

    December 17, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. PL

    Looks like Republicans can already see the writing on the wall, I say if you can't contribute SEE YA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 17, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. sunshine

    it will take a long time for people to forget all the hate and negative campaigning that went on during the election, the republicans need to admit their mistakes and start over.

    December 17, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  23. FL Republican

    Hey Democrats! Unlike Martinez, he would have walzed to reelected if he wanted to stay in the Senate. This was expected for years because HE PROMISED to only serve two full terms. He will be WINNING a governorship in Nov. 2010 that is currently being held by YOUR PARTY.

    December 17, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. cake

    another one jump the ship

    December 17, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. tip of the iceberg

    I'm sure he just sees this as the natural course he has to take to be considered viable for the GOP nomination in 2016 (Oh, ditto for Jeb Bush). Him and Palin can get together and speard twice the amount of hate – TOGETHER! Sounds glorious!

    December 17, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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