Former Kansas Congresswoman Nancy Boyda said Thursday she would end her campaign for U.S. Senate without stopping the pursuit of meaningful dialogue intended to narrow partisan differences dividing the state and nation.
Meanwhile, the president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Chamber, Alan Cobb, said he wouldn't be a Republican candidate in 2020 for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
Boyda, a Democrat, launched in June a campaign for the seat held by Roberts since 1997. She had been out of elective politics for more than a decade. No Democrat has won election in Kansas to the U.S. Senate since the 1930s.
"From the beginning, I have been focused on one issue: healing the bitter, toxic divide in our country," Boyda said. "At a time when we need to be addressing huge issues, we cannot even speak to each other."
Cobb, who worked on the 2016 campaign of President Donald Trump, said he would remain at the Kansas Chamber to lobby in opposition to high taxes, cumbersome regulations and activist justices on the Kansas Supreme Court.
"The Chamber's influence and impact on public policy in Kansas is unmatched," Cobb said. "Free enterprise has rarely been under attack like it is today."
Boyda, of rural Baldwin City, said there were signs the country was about to be split in two politically, and vowed to do what she could to keep that from happening.
"I dearly love this country and want it to heal and to thrive for my children and grandchildren," she said. "I am stepping aside to pursue this calling of bringing Kansans together, but this time without the constraints of a partisan campaign."
The remaining Democrat in the U.S. Senate contest is Barry Grissom, a former federal prosecutor and a practicing lawyer in the Kansas City area.
GOP candidates for Roberts' seat include U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, former Kansas City Chiefs football player Dave Lindstrom, Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle and commentator Bryan Pruitt. Kansas State Treasurer Jake LaTurner withdrew from the GOP field to concentrate on running for Congress in the 2nd District.
Boyda served the 2nd District in the U.S. House in 2007 and 2008, but was defeated for re-election by Republican Lynn Jenkins, who held the eastern Kansas seat for a decade. She was replaced by U.S. Rep. Steve Watkins, a Topeka Republican who has drawn the GOP primary challenge from LaTurner.
Boyda said she was grateful for support and encouragement she received during her four-month participation in the U.S. Senate contest, adding that "I intend to keep fighting the good fight."