ontario news watch
United States

Kansas GOP congressman Jake LaTurner is not running again, citing family reasons

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two-term Republican U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner is not running for reelection this year in his GOP-leaning eastern Kansas district so that he can spend more time with his four young children, he announced Thursday.

LaTurner is among nearly two dozen Republicans in the U.S. House who are not running again or seeking another office.

“The unrepeatable season of life we are in, where our kids are still young and at home, is something I want to be more present for,” LaTurner said.

LaTurner’s announcement leaves Republicans with no declared candidates in a district he likely would have had little trouble winning again. While the district includes Democratic strongholds in the state capital of Topeka and northern Kansas City, they’re offset by rural areas that heavily favored former President Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020.

LaTurner, 36, has put on hold what seemed a promising long-term political career, saying also that he wouldn’t seek any office in 2026. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly is term-limited and Republicans had mentioned LaTurner as a possible candidate for the job that year.

He worked for U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins when he won a state Senate seat in 2012 at age 24, and he became Kansas’ youngest-ever state treasurer at 29 when then-GOP Gov. Sam Brownback appointed him to fill a vacancy.

LaTurner’s statement mentioned “the current dysfunction on Capitol Hill,” with the narrow Republican majority in the House and a threat from the hard-right to topple Speaker Mike Johnson, but he also said he’s optimistic about the nation’s future. Instead, he said, serving in Congress has taken a toll on him, his wife, Suzanne, and their children.

“I am hopeful that in another season of life, with new experiences and perspectives, I can contribute in some small way and advocate for the issues I care most about,” his statement Thursday said.

While Republicans have represented the 2nd District in 27 of the past 30 years, Democrats have waged aggressive campaigns since Jenkins decided not to seek reelection in 2018. One Democrat, former teacher Eli Woody IV, has filed to run in November.

In the 2020 primary, LaTurner handily defeated Republican Steve Watkins and won the November election by almost 15 percentage points. In 2022, LaTurner won his general election race by a slightly wider margin.

In June 2022, the congressman beefed up security at his home and Topeka office out of concern for his family’s safety after a man left a threatening voicemail after hours that said, “I will kill you.”

The man, Chase Neill, is now serving a sentence of nearly four years in prison after being convicted in federal court of one count of threating a U.S. official. LaTurner testified at the trial, and Neill, representing himself, cross-examined him personally.

John Hanna, The Associated Press

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *