Former Republican congressman Todd Tiahrt wants back what was once his — the Kansas Fourth Congressional seat — from the man he turned it over to.
On Thursday, Tiahrt announced that he is challenging Rep. Mike Pompeo.
“You know how hard I’ve worked for this district,” Tiahrt told about 80 supporters at the Kansas Aviation Museum, according to the Wichita Eagle.
“I’m not happy with what’s going on in Congress,” he said, “and I’m very unhappy with what’s happening in the 4th District.”
Tiahrt, who is currently the CEO of Neumann Systems Group, claimed that Pompeo has failed to keep jobs in Kansas and also criticized the incumbent’s support for the National Security Agency, the Eagle reports.
But Tiahrt may have a hard time overcoming one obstacle, besides Pompeo’s $2 million campaign war chest: a 2010 endorsement he gave his successor-turned-opponent.
“I have spent nearly 16 years in Congress fighting to keep the Kansas aviation industry strong in the 4th District and Mike Pompeo will continue that battle,” Tiahrt said, according to a press release published by Pompeo’s campaign in 2010.
“Mike has the experience to bring a true change to Washington, D.C. and I’m honored to join him on the campaign trail,” Tiahrt said at the time.
Tiahrt’s 2010 endorsement came as he was making a run at the U.S. Senate, which he lost to current senator Jerry Moran in the GOP primary.
Pompeo wasted no time in pouncing on Tiahrt’s switch, calling it “doublespeak.”
“I am surprised that Todd has chosen to attempt to get back the job he abandoned back in 2010,” said Pompeo in a statement released the The Daily Caller.
“Todd endorsed me in my run for Congress that same year, my first effort to seek political office. Todd also endorsed me in my second campaign, my successful re-election to Congress in 2012.”
Pompeo cited Tiahrt’s 2011 endorsement, where he said “The 4th District of Kansas needs Mike Pompeo fighting to keep the federal government off the backs of small business owners and job creators.”
“The contrast between these two statements is exactly the kind of classic politician doublespeak that has led voters to so deeply mistrust elected officials,” said Pompeo.
The state primary is August 5.