Wichita’s Pompeo won’t rule out run for speaker

Buzz is building around Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo as a possible candidate for speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The conservative lawmaker from Wichita is happy to serve if asked. But he stopped short of announcing an official campaign for the leadership spot soon to be vacated by John Boehner, R-Ohio.

“I know every member of the House is looking for the right person,” Pompeo said in a statement on Tuesday. “If I can serve the American people and the conservative movement in any way, sign me up. However, a couple weeks ago I was floated as a presidential candidate, so I might be pretty busy.”

Pompeo’s interest appears to be serious, though. With House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California now out of the speaker race and Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan reluctant to run, the floor is open, and a recent article in Politico reported that Pompeo is gauging support among his colleagues for a possible run.

A Twitter account with the handle @mikeforspeaker also appeared in recent days, urging Pompeo to throw his hat in the ring.

Although Pompeo doesn’t have much seniority compared to other possible candidates, the West Point and Harvard Law graduate “can position himself as a conservative who is strong on defense,” the Politico article noted. “He is on the Intelligence Committee, and while he’s relatively junior, some Republicans say he could help bridge the gap between the Freedom Caucus and the rank and file.”

Pompeo was elected to represent Kansas’ 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House in 2010.

“Of all members of the Kansas delegation he makes the most sense” as a speaker candidate, said Burdett Loomis, a professor of political science at the University of Kansas.

“He’s someone that Republicans might might rally around,” Loomis said. “You can just see people scratching their heads and saying: What about Mike Pompeo? ... It’s within the realm of possibility to the extent that its in the realm of possibility for maybe 70 or 80 similar people.”

Lindsay Wise: 202-383-6007, @lindsaywise