Mike Pompeo accused of plotting escape route back home during taxpayer-funded trips to Kansas
Mike Pompeo speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

According to the Guardian, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been jetting back and forth between Washington and his home state of Kansas for a number of bizarrely political events, including radio interviews, "workplace development" talks with first daughter Ivanka Trump, and — on one strange occasion — handing out State Department buttons emblazoned with "#Swagger."

All of this has renewed the on-again, off-again speculation that Pompeo may be planning to run for Senate in 2020, as Sen. Pat Roberts is retiring — something that he has vehemently denied he is doing.

It is widely expected that if Pompeo were to run for Senate, he would lock the seat down, as he remains popular there and Republicans have not lost a Kansas Senate race since 1932.

But if he isn't, many political figures note, then he is wasting everyone's time and money. The Kansas City Star ran an editorial saying Pompeo has “better things to do” than repeatedly fly to Kansas, and he “should quit his rather important day job” if he's really flirting with a run, and Senate Democrats have filed a complaint asking watchdogs to look into his Kansas trips.

Even without Pompeo speculation, the Kansas Senate race is already shaping up to be far more interesting than usual with Roberts stepping aside. Congressman Roger Marshall appears to be the pick of GOP leadership, but flamboyant former Trump ally and anti-voting-rights crusader Kris Kobach is also running fresh off his failed bid for governor. Meanwhile, Democrats have a star recruit in state Sen. Barbara Bollier, who was until recently a Republican before defecting over the party's extremism.