GOP Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas Says He Won't Seek Re-Election
(Bloomberg) -- Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, announced Friday he won’t seek re-election in 2020.
Roberts, serving his fourth term, made the announcement just weeks after Congress passed a major farm bill.
"I will not be a candidate in 2020 for a fifth Senate term," Roberts, 82, said at the state Agriculture Department in Manhattan, Kansas.
He said he will serve the rest of his current term to do the agriculture panel’s "urgent work" on U.S. trade policy and overseeing federal implementation of the farm bill.
"Despite the partisan division and conflict in Washington that threatens progress, I continue to believe that we can achieve results," Roberts said.
Roberts is the second senator to announce he will retire in two years. Last month, GOP Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said he wouldn’t seek re-election. Both Roberts and Alexander represent heavily Republican states.
Roberts faced a tough re-election fight in 2014, fending off Tea Party-backed candidate Milton Wolf in the GOP primary and then a general-election challenge from Greg Orman, a businessman who ran as an independent. Roberts won the general election with 53 percent of the vote.
Roberts earlier served as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee when President George W. Bush was in office and sent troops to Iraq, citing the threat of weapons of mass destruction held by Saddam Hussein’s government. When that intelligence turned out to be faulty, Roberts called for a review and then proposed changes.
The senator’s voting record in the 115th Congress during 2017-2018 earned him just a 64 percent rating from the conservative group Heritage Action. For 2015, Roberts got a 93 percent score from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which gave him a 92 percent lifetime score.
Roberts earlier served in the U.S. House for 16 years, and he also was chairman of the agriculture panel in that chamber.
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