With the 2008 election season over, Rep. Jerry Moran wasted little time taking the next step in his likely bid for higher office.
The western Kansas Republican filed paperwork Friday that allows him to accept contributions for a U.S. Senate campaign.
Moran, of Hays, has been telling constituents for months that he plans to seek the seat being vacated in 2010 by Republican Sam Brownback. His statement of candidacy filed with the Federal Election Commission and the secretary of the U.S. Senate formalizes that process.
"Jerry was on the ballot for the U.S. House for the last time," Moran spokesman Travis Murphy said Friday. "He's made his intentions known for some time that this was his plan."
Don't get your hopes up. This seat had a PVI of R+20. We don't yet know how Obama did here, but it can't have been great. Perhaps of greater interest to open-seat fans is this tidbit:
Moran may not be the only prominent Republican laying the groundwork for a Senate bid. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, of the Wichita area, has not ruled out such a campaign and has been traveling the state recently to raise his profile outside his south-central Kansas district.
"An open Senate seat will draw a lot of interest, and my feeling is Kansas will not have two senators from the same congressional district," Tiahrt said Friday, a reference to Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, who also represented western Kansas before ascending to the Senate. "I can guarantee there will be others who will get into this race."
Tiahrt swamped what had looked like a promising challenge from state Sen. Donald Betts by a punishing 64-32 margin. I wouldn't expect this R+12 district to be much more promising as an open seat, but you never know. At the very least, another Pearce vs. Wilson-style GOP senate primary would be fun.