By Eli Yokley
January 25, 2017 at 1:17 pm ET
Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins said Wednesday she will not run for re-election in 2018 and wants to return to the private sector.
The move opens her safe Republican seat in eastern Kansas and removes her name from a list of possible candidates for the GOP nomination to replace Gov. Sam Brownback, one of the nation’s most unpopular governors.
“In two years, at the conclusion of this Congress, I plan to retire and explore opportunities to return to the private sector, allowing a new citizen legislator to step up and serve Kansas,” she said in an email to supporters.
Jenkins was elected to her state’s 2nd District in 2008, and carried strong victories each time since. In 2016, President Donald Trump won her district with 56 percent of the vote, following a similar performance by Republican candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.
Her exit will open up a second safe Republican seat in the Sunflower State, following Rep. Mike Pompeo’s resignation to join the Trump administration as its Central Intelligence Agency director.
Pompeo represented Kansas’ 4th District. A handful of Republicans have already come forward for the party’s nomination there, including Kansas state Treasurer Ron Estes, who officially launched his campaign on Wednesday. A former Trump campaign director, Alan Cobb, told Morning Consult earlier this week that he will also run for the seat. After both parties pick their nominees, voters will elect a member of Congress in an April 11 special election.