Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday told Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, that he does not plan to run for Senate in 2020, most likely ending Republicans’ hopes of securing a potentially dominant candidate for the open seat in his home state of Kansas, according to four people briefed on the meeting.
Mr. Pompeo, a former congressman from the Wichita area, has quietly explored a campaign for months. But in the aftermath of the military operation last week that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran, Mr. Pompeo has told senior party officials that he is ruling out becoming a candidate, according to several people who have spoken with him directly.
His conversation with the majority leader, which took place in Mr. McConnell’s Capitol office, touched on the events of the last few days in the Middle East, according to an aide to the senator.
Another person briefed on the decision said it was clear it would be “irresponsible” for Mr. Pompeo to leave the State Department and would not help him in any possible presidential run in 2024 as much as people had speculated it might.
Mr. Pompeo still has time to change his mind. The filing deadline for the primary is not until June. However, administration officials who have spoken with him in recent days said he seemed adamant about not entering the race.
Without Mr. Pompeo in the race, Republicans face an unsettled primary that includes at least one candidate, Kris Kobach, whom party leaders fear could imperil their hold on a crucial open Senate seat. Mr. Kobach, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2018, is popular with hard-right primary voters but widely disliked among moderate and independent voters in Kansas.