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Tiahrt doesn’t plan to run for Congress, but that’s not set in stone

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, at 5:50 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, at 10:13 a.m.

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Former 4th District Congressman Todd Tiahrt said Monday that he has no plans to run for his old seat in August, but he also said he might change his mind if things don’t improve in the district.

Tiahrt has been the subject of recent media speculation that he might campaign against fellow Republican Mike Pompeo, who succeeded him in the 4th District after Tiahrt left in 2011 after an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 2010, losing in the primaries to Jerry Moran.

“The first vote I would have to get is from Vicki, my wife, and so far, she’s up to an ‘absolutely no,’ ” Tiahrt said.

But Tiahrt, who served in the district for 16 years, also said he continues to hear from people who feel that Congress is out of touch with them.

“They feel Congress has spent a lot of time raising money and little time on local issues,” he said.

People who contact him are concerned about layoffs and bankruptcies in the aircraft industry and remember how he fought for those companies, he said. However, Tiahrt said he is busy with his consulting firm, Todd Tiahrt LLC, and has no plans to run.

“In politics you never say never. I may change my mind and do this,” he said. “I am surprised at the level of concern that people have about what’s going on in the 4th District of Kansas.”

Tiahrt said those concerns aren’t about whether Pompeo is conservative enough.

“This is not about being conservative, it’s about being effective,” he said.

Pompeo, who announced a week and a half ago that he is running for the seat again, said he will continue to do what he was elected to do and think about the election when it comes.

“I gave up being in the private sector to come take on a mission and try and bring a limited-government, free-market expertise to Washington, D.C.,” he said. “I think in a couple of years we’ve done that, and I’m going to keep doing that.

“I think the folks in Kansas get who Mike Pompeo is. He’s someone who is going to shoot straight with them,” he said.

Reach Fred Mann at 316-268-6310 or fmann@wichitaeagle.com.

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