Republican Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner, one of the youngest statewide elected officials in the country, is entering the race to replace Pat Roberts in the U.S. Senate.
LaTurner's announcement comes less than a week after Roberts said he will retire at the end of his term in two years. LaTurner is the first person to enter the race, although numerous individuals are considering it.
"Kansas Republicans deserve a candidate for the U.S. Senate who shares their values and is willing to stand up and fight for those values in Washington," LaTurner said. "As a conservative, I will fight every day to represent our Kansas conservative values in Washington."
At 30, LaTurner is at the Constitutional minimum age of eligibility to run for the Senate. He will turn 31 next month.
LaTurner previously a state senator, was appointed treasurer in 2017 and elected to the post in November. In Kansas, the position of treasurer is a relatively low-profile, non-controversial role. LaTurner was mentored by departing U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins.
The race is a relatively low-risk venture for LaTurner. Because he was just elected to a four-year term as treasurer, he can run for the Senate without giving up the chance to run for re-election if the Senate bid is unsuccessful.
In announcing his candidacy, LaTurner signed a "Contract with Kansas" that emphasizes fiscal responsibility and national security, including construction of a border wall. The contract also calls for term limits and the state's continued representation on the Senate Agricultural Committee.
And he promises to "live and raise" his family in Kansas. During his 2014 race, critics charged Roberts didn't truly live in Kansas.
LaTurner's campaign will be co-chaired by Dave Murfin and Ivan Crossland. Murfin is CEO of oil and construction company Murfin, Inc., and is a member of the state Board of Regents, which governs public universities. Both are members of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce board of directors.
Roberts on Friday announced his decision to retire, immediately setting off speculation over who will get in the race. The list of Republicans considering a run is lengthy.
Outgoing Gov. Jeff Colyer, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, outgoing Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Senate President Susan Wagle and Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, are among those considering campaigns.
On the Democratic side, former U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom and former congressional candidate James Thompson are weighing the race.