Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Roberts Finds Home for La-Z Boy

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Roberts Finds Home for La-Z Boy

Sen. Pat Roberts now owns a home in Kansas. Kansas' senior U.S. Senator recently closed on a house in Topeka.

You'll recall the effective (but not effective enough) campaign issue that Roberts really wasn't a Kansas resident in 2014. When he came "home," Roberts was renting a La-Z Boy recliner in the home of a Dodge City supporter. The good news is Roberts won't have to rent a moving truck to get his recliner from Dodge City to Topeka. A pick-up truck ought to get the job done.

Some say Roberts' recent home purchase is evidence that the Senator intends to retire to Topeka in 2020 or before. Franki, his wife, is said to like Topeka. I do not buy this story, because it directly contradicts a story I've heard regularly since about 2012: Roberts decided to run again for the Senate, because Franki didn't want to leave the posh Washington lifestyle and his staffers didn't want to job hunt.

Roberts hasn't lived in Kansas since the 1960s. He worked first as a staffer in Washington, before running for his boss's seat in the U.S. House in 1980. He and Franki married in 1969. 

Their children, David, Margaret (Ashleigh), and Anne-Wesley graduated from West Potomac High School in Alexandria, Va. in the late '80s and early '90s. In a hackneyed and kind of gross attempt to play Kansan, two of his kids attended a Dodge City elementary school for three months in the 1980s--about the time Roberts was running for Congress for the first time.

His children did attend college in Kansas--and probably cried when their parents told them they had no choice but to schlep to Kansas and spend their late teens and early 20s in the Sunflower State. The girls attended the University of Kansas. David attended Kansas State and then Washburn.

Roberts hasn't really lived in Kansas since he graduated from Wildcat U back in the late 1950s. His family members lived here very, very briefly. 

The idea that Roberts bought a house in Topeka in order to retire in his "home" state is about as likely as me being bitten by shark while giving birth to septuplets. All of these tea leaves lead me to the conclusion that Roberts intends to mount a 2020 campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Back in 2014, a lot of really good potential candidates stepped aside out of respect for Roberts. There were also rumors that Roberts intended to run, win, and then step aside and allow the Governor to appoint the replacement of Roberts' choice. (In jaded hindsight, this may have been a carrot offered to keep others from getting into the race.)

Roberts is a nice guy; well-liked and decent, and a U.S. Marine. Seriously, swoon. That said, being a "nice" guy and a former Marine shouldn't guarantee you a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Senate. 

My hope is that the angels of Roberts' better nature get the best of him and he decides to do the right thing and not run in 2020. He can be a lobbyist, or a campaign consultant in D.C., or just a guy who spends tons of time with his grandchildren, family, and friends.

I sincerely hope the other potential candidates who stepped down last time will reconsider in 2020. Yes, it will mean a brutal and bloody primary, but stepping aside last time didn't prevent a bloody primary. It simply meant a lot of angst, money, and blood spent on behalf of a candidate who, in hindsight, wasn't all that great. 

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