If a number of heavyweight Republicans have their way, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will be running for governor of Kansas next year. Gen. Richard B. Myers, whose four-year term as JCS chairman ends next month, is reportedly planning to settle in Kansas to teach at the university level. However, the Kansas State University graduate has begun to be boomed as the Republican opponent to Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in ’06.
Although the general’s political views (and even his party registration, if any) are unknown, sources in Kansas told HUMAN EVENTS that Republican Sen. Sam Brownback "thinks very highly" of Myers. The same sources say Brownback held a closed-door meeting with a group of nine major GOP donors at the Courtyard Marriott in Wichita on Monday, August 29th. Only weeks after Rep. Jerry Moran had stunned Sunflower State Republicans by opting for re-election instead of a long-anticipated challenge to Sebelius, the group at the Marriott reportedly tried to persuade Brownback to run. But the conservative senator politely declined, and also reminded them that he had given his word to serve two full-terms and retire from the Senate in 2010. (Following Bob Dole’s resignation from the Senate in 1996, then-Rep. Brownback won the special election to fill out his term and has since won two terms of his own in 1998 and ’04). Brownback has also signaled he may run for president in ’08.
Once Brownback had made it clear that a gubernatorial bid was not on his screen, the name of Myers — a familiar fixture on C-SPAN for his regular briefings at the Pentagon with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld — was brought up, sources said. Among those at the Wichita session were David Murfin and Dick Smith (both independent oilmen), Spirit (formerly Boeing) Airlines head Jeff Turner, and Wichita realtor Nestor Weigand, Jr., all considered major financial powers in the Kansas Republican Party.
Myers, on active duty until his retirement later this year, was unavailable for comment.