GOP Eyes a Sebelius Candidacy to Boosts Its Coffers

Image: GOP Eyes a Sebelius Candidacy to Boosts Its Coffers

Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 06:49 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The GOP would relish the chance to exploit a candidacy by outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius should she decide to run against incumbent Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, according to the National Journal.

The New York Times reported  Wednesday that Kansas Democrats were calling on Sebelius to enter the race. Democratic Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor is already a candidate.

Sebelius's frontline role in the disastrous implementation of the Affordable Care Act would make her candidacy a lightening rod for Republican fundraisers, the Journal reported.

Prior to heading off to Washington, Sebelius had been an admired two-term governor in Kansas. A Sebelius candidacy would likely attract both Democratic and Republican national donors to the race.

Roberts is being challenged for the GOP nomination by tea party-backed physician Milton Wolf. Roberts can be expected to argue that he is more electable in any contest against Sebelius, according to the Journal.

An automated Public Policy Polling survey has Roberts leading Wolf by 26-points and either Republican overcoming Sebelius. President Barack Obama lost Kansas to Mitt Romney by nearly 22 points.

While Sebelius has until June 2 to decide whether to enter the race, her friends say she has been battered by her tenure as HHS secretary and that they "seriously doubted" she would be a candidate, the Times reported.

Sebelius once had a reputation for competence, moderation, and pragmatism as Kansas governor. Her tenure in Washington, promoting Obamacare and the Democratic Party's agenda, has transformed her image, according to Stuart Rothenberg of  Roll Call.

Now she has a 55 percent unfavorable rating against a 38 percent favorable. "The past few years have changed how Kansas voters will regard Kathleen Sebelius. And the change wouldn't be at all helpful if she were to make the surprising decision to begin an extremely uphill bid for the Senate this year," Rothenberg writes.

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