Bryan Pruitt, a conservative commentator from Washington, D.C., is entering the race for U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts’ seat in November 2020.
Pruitt, a born-and-raised Wichitan, told The Mercury he’s basing his campaign in Manhattan since his immediate family now lives here.
After having worked in Washington as a political consultant, campaign consultant and most recently a conservative commentator, Pruitt said he was returning to Kansas and running in order “to secure the Republican party’s future with new and diverse voices.”
“It’s critically important that Kansans nominate a candidate who can win in November,” Pruitt said. “We have to save the Republican majority in the Senate.”
Pruitt said his campaign also would focus on taking back congressional power after what he called “overreach” from the courts and presidential administrations.
Pruitt’s campaign will address stopping the northern flow of illegal immigration, he said, as well as First and Second Amendment issues. On healthcare, Pruitt said he’ll advocate for lower cost health insurance plans, especially for younger citizens who don’t necessarily want or need all the “bells and whistles.”
As a self-described pro-life candidate, he said the Republican Party needs to retool the language it uses in addressing abortion so it doesn’t alienate people.
Pruitt also said he wants to address electoral reform, and he’s proposing a rotating nomination process, so that states like Kansas have a more substantial role in the primary process.
“It shouldn’t always be Iowa first (in the primary process),” Pruitt said. “It can be Nebraska or Kansas. It should be regionalized and rotated so that other states can be first in the process.”
Pruitt said his campaign would roll out more policy details in the coming months.
After calling his campaign a “longshot” in an interview with The Wichita Eagle, Pruitt said his campaign is better described as an underdog campaign.
Pruitt, who would be Kansas’s first openly gay senator if elected, said he doesn’t think his sexuality will be a campaign issue, and by announcing his campaign a year in advance of the primary elections, he hopes to talk to potentially uncomfortable voters and allow them to get to know him as a person.
“There’s a perception that the Democratic Party is the only one that can nominate and elect diverse voices that reflect all parts of the American experience,” Pruitt said. “I don’t believe that’s true.”
Pruitt joins Kansas treasurer Jake LaTurner, former secretary of state Kris Kobach and Kansas Senate president Susan Wagle in the Republican field for the Senate seat.
Democrats in the race include former federal prosecutor Barry Grissom, former U.S. Representative Nancy Boyda and retired court services officer Robert Tillman.