Kansas Republican Congressman Jake LaTurner won’t seek another term

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LaTurner cited spending more time with family and young children as the reason for his decision.

Republican Kansas Congressman Jake LaTurner announced Thursday that he will not run for another term after seeing a rapid political rise in recent years.

LaTurner, who is 36, cited the four young children in his family when he announced he would not seek another term in the 2nd Congressional District that covers parts of the eastern quarter of the state, including most of Douglas County outside of Lawrence.

“The busy schedule of serving in and running for Congress has taken a toll,” LaTurner said in a letter announcing the decision.

Work in the U.S. House has been marred by fights over leadership recently. LaTurner noted the dysfunction but said it isn’t insurmountable and the country had overcome larger divisions in the past.

“The vast majority of people I have served with are good and trying to do the right thing,” He said.

Currently, the only candidate filed to run for the seat is Democrat Elgin “Eli” Woody IV. But he said in a statement to the Kansas News Service on Thursday that he has suspended his campaign and plans to instead run for a seat in the Kansas Legislature.

The open seat in the Republican-leaning district is likely to attract attention from multiple candidates. The last time it was open in 2018, seven Republicans competed in the primary.

That list of candidates in 2018 included some people who are still politically active. Republicans Caryn Tyson and Dennis Pyle, both current state senators, ran for the seat.

LaTurner won the seat in 2020 after defeating sitting Republican Congressman Steve Watkins in the primary. Watkins had been weakened by scandals, including a felony charge over his voter registration.

LaTurner has not faced strong opposition in the district since then. He won reelection in 2022 with 57% of the vote.

LaTurner was seen as a future political leader in Kansas and went from the Kansas Legislature to be appointed as Kansas treasurer in 2017 when the job was vacated. The statewide office of treasurer served as a springboard that allowed him to move to the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The announcement doesn’t necessarily mark the end of LaTurner’s political career. He said he would not run for office in this election or in 2026, but hinted there could be more political contests in his future.

“I am hopeful that in another season of life, with new experiences and perspectives, I can contribute in some small way,” LaTurner said.

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy.

Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org.

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