TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas prosecutor confirmed Friday that he's considering a run for the U.S. Senate next year as a Democrat for the seat now held by veteran Republican Pat Roberts.
Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor told The Associated Press that he plans to form an exploratory committee. He said setting up such a group allows polling, raising money and "testing the waters" before deciding whether to run.
Taylor said he'll make a formal announcement about the committee Monday, his 40th birthday. He declined to discuss additional details until then.
He is the first Democrat to publicly announce an interest in the race. He's was elected district attorney of the county that includes Topeka in 2008 and re-elected without opposition in 2012.
Taylor gained statewide attention last year for investigating private meetings held by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback at Cedar Crest, his official residence, and attended by dozens of GOP lawmakers. The district attorney publicly scolded legislators over the meetings but took no further legal action.
Kansas Republican Party Chairman Kelly Arnold said the investigation is the only reason voters outside of Shawnee County would know Taylor's name. Like GOP legislators have in the past, Arnold called the investigation "politically motivated," something Taylor disputes.
"He's going to have a very difficult time running for the U.S. Senate," Arnold said.
Roberts has served in the Senate since 1997, and he's been a fixture on the state's political scene even longer. A congressional aide for 11 years, he was elected to the U.S. House in 1980 and represented the 1st District of western and central Kansas for 16 years before winning his Senate seat.
But Roberts also faces a challenge from the right in the GOP primary in August 2014 from Dr. Milton Wolf, a Leawood radiologist.
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