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GOP Contenders Begin to Line Up for Moore’s Seat

Updated: 5:57 p.m.Many Republicans have already announced their interest in running for the seat currently held by Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.), who unexpectedly announced Monday that he would not run for re-election after six terms in the House.“I have decided not to seek re-election in 2010,— Moore said in a statement. “It is time for a new generation of leadership to step forward.—Also in his statement, Moore called for “robust competition— between both parties to fill his seat in 2010. President Barack Obama won the 3rd district by a slim three-point margin in 2008, and Republicans had already indicated that they planned to target the seat in 2010. “As the first Democrat elected to represent this district in 40 years back in 1998, I know that there didn’t used to be partisan competition in northeast Kansas,— Moore said. “This progress is good for democracy and important in ensuring that all voices are heard.—Moore’s retirement sets up what is likely to be one of the GOP’s best pickup opportunities of the 2010 cycle. Republicans in the district got an immediate start Monday on trying to sort out what could be a crowded and contentious primary. A handful of the potential GOP candidates met at 7:30 this morning in Johnson County. Those who attended the meeting agreed to start campaigning and raising money earlier in order for the viable candidates to emerge before the late August primary next year so the party can avoid an intraparty contest so close to the general election. According to a source familiar with those in attendance, 2008 GOP nominee Nick Jordan, attorney Greg Musil, former Johnson County Commission candidate Charlotte O’Hara and state Sen. Karin Brownlee were in the room with party leaders. State Republican Party Chairwoman Amanda Adkins was also in attendance and might also be considering a bid. Johnson County Republican Party Chairman Ronnie Metsker confirmed the meeting was congenial in nature. “It was a gathering of people to talk about what we were going to do as Republicans,— Metsker said. “There were some key players in the room who wanted to talk bout the good of the party as a whole.—Many of the Republicans who have expressed interest in the race have challenged Moore in past cycles. “We are running,— Jordan said Monday. Jordan lost to Moore, 40 percent to 56 percent, but he begins the open-seat race likely in the best position because of the name identification that he built during his last bid. In fact, Jordan said National Republican Congressional Committee Recruitment Chairman Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) called him in the last few weeks to talk to him about the race. But Jordan is just one of several candidates contemplating getting into the race now that Moore has announced his retirement. State Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) also announced Monday morning that he was forming an exploratory committee to look at running for the seat. Musil, who lost a bid for the seat in 2000, is expected to get into the race this week. State Sen. Jeff Colyer, who lost a bid for the seat in 2002, also confirmed his interest in a bid Monday morning. “We’re taking a very serious look at it,— he said. The NRCC has also been in contact with a well-known neurosurgeon in the area, Steve Reintjes, who has expressed interest in the race and could potentially put some of his own personal wealth toward a bid. Reintjes did not return a request for comment left at his office.National Democrats were mum Monday about potential successors to Moore, but the district will be difficult for the party to hold onto without the six-term Democrat. One often-mentioned candidate, Wyandotte Mayor Joe Reardon, did not return a request for comment. The former mayor of Wyandotte, Carol Marinovich, was also mentioned as a possible candidate. “We are confident that a Democrat who shares Dennis Moore’s Kansas values and strong work ethic will win this seat and continue his legacy of working for solutions on behalf of Kansas’ families and businesses,— Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said in a statement Monday.