Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) officially launched his 2010 Senate bid Saturday, setting up a primary face off with fellow Republican Rep. Jerry Moran.
"As I travel across Kansas listening and sharing my vision for a more prosperous state, I have been encouraged to take my leadership to the United States Senate in 2010," Tiahrt said at an event in Topeka, according to a statement issued by his campaign.
"I am resolute in my determination to take on tough battles in Washington to get things done for the great people of Kansas," he said. "I stand before you today announcing that I am now a candidate for the United States Senate."
The gulf between Moran and Tiahrt isn't especially wide ideologically, but Tiahrt's profile as a hard-right culture warrior may work to the advantage of Kansas Democrats should he manage to defeat Moran. From CQ:
"Tiahrt running for seat is ironically helpful for Democrats," said Burdett Loomis, a professor of political science at University of Kansas and longtime observer of state politics. "If Tiahrt gets the nomination, the Democratic nomination is really worth something to anyone who could track funding. Tiahrt is perceived as quite a social conservative, and he doesn't have terrific recognition outside his district. Moran has a much broader identification around the state."
Open seat fans should be aware that Tiahrt's 4th CD has an old PVI of R+12.2 and only gave Obama 40% of the vote this time around -- pretty tough sledding, even though the area has sent Democrats to the House in decades previous.
CQ identifies state Rep. Raj Goyle as the leading candidate for Kansas Democrats -- assuming he wants the nomination. In the diaries earlier this week, kansasjackassgave us some more detail:
State Rep. Raj Goyle shocked the Kansas political establishment when he beat incumbent Republican State Rep. Bonnie Huy in 2006, and has since made a name for himself as an able and ambitious member of the state legislature. As a testament to the quality of a candidate he is, in his reliably Republican district his original election in 2006 wasn't that close (56%-44%) and his re-election in 2008 was a blow-out: He won 67% of the vote.