Voters in the 4th District in south central Kansas will choose a new member of Congress on April 11.
Republican Mike Pompeo officially stepped down Monday after he was confirmed as the new director of the CIA. Gov. Sam Brownback signed an order Tuesday setting the date for the election. Brownback says he chose the earliest Tuesday available under state law.
“This first year of a new administration, when the Republican Party holds the House, Senate and presidency, you’re likely to see a lot of action. You want to get a representative as soon as possible. That was the total basis on which my decision was made,” Brownback says.
Kansas lawmakers updated the state’s special election laws in anticipation of Pompeo leaving the seat. The updates extend the timeline so that members of the military can vote absentee and make it easier for independent candidates to get on the ballot by requiring them to gather only 3,000 signatures.
The local political parties will hold conventions to pick their candidates in the coming weeks.
A number of familiar politicians have already said they’re interested. The Republicans include state Treasurer Ron Estes and Todd Tiahrt, who formerly held the 4th District seat. Would-be Democratic candidates include former state Treasurer Dennis McKinney.
Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service.