Croft closes door on congressional bid

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Republican state Rep. Chris Croft this week quietly shut the door on running for Congress.

The second-term lawmaker from Overland Park filed to run for reelection in House District 8, which covers parts of southern Overland Park and Olathe.

The filing, made Tuesday, essentially ends any thoughts Croft had about running for Congress against Republican Amanda Adkins in the 3rd District.

“I looked out there to see what the environment was like and was I the right fit for that,” Croft said in an interview.

“I went after it, looking at it as an opportunity to learn and to see and gain more knowledge,” he said.

He described it as a learning process to see the options that might be available.

“I made the decision based off circumstances in my family situation, with me where I’m at in life and where I thought I could make the most impact,” Croft said.

“I feel like my focus now at the state level is the most appropriate place for me to be and I’m excited about it,” he said.

Politico first reported Croft’s interest in running for Congress last spring when it disclosed that he was among a group of veterans who Republicans were recruiting to run for a seat on Capitol Hill.

Republicans were hoping that veterans would help make the party more appealing heading into the 2022 elections.

Earlier this spring, Croft met with National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer.

Croft’s decision to file for reelection came just before Adkins released her fundraising numbers for the second quarter.

Adkins on Wednesday reported raising more than $603,000 for the quarter, ending with $573,000 in cash on hand.

It was the most Adkins had raised in any quarter outside the $741,000 she brought in during the third quarter of the 2020 general election, when fundraising would have been expected to be at full tilt.

By comparison, Adkins raised about $205,417 in the second quarter of last year.

Democratic Congresswoman Sharice Davids, who regularly pulls in $500,000 a quarter, had about $775,000 in the bank as of the end of March.

The congresswoman’s next report for the second quarter isn’t due until July 15.

“I am so grateful for the overwhelming support I have received from grassroots supporters, the business community, as well as so many national and Kansas leaders,” Adkins said in a statement.

“The momentum we are experiencing is tremendous, this district is definitely ready for new leadership.”

Croft’s decision to remain in the Kansas House could potentially put him in line for House leadership as early as 2023 assuming he is reelected in a district that he has carried handily in the past.

Croft, who now chairs the House redistricting committee, said he is not focusing on leadership elections in the future, although there is talk about him potentially running for majority leader down the road.

“I’ve tried to stay focused on where I’m at right now,” he said.

“I’ve got a lot to focus on right now. That’s one of the things the military did teach us well, you’ve got to stay focused on the mission,” he said.

“If something happens later, so be it,” he said. “That’s not where I’m at right now.”

As chair of the Republican House Campaign Committee, Croft presided over efforts to expand the House supermajority last year.

In 2019 with Croft as chair, the political arm of the Kansas Republican House caucus pulled in $209,600 in 2019, the first time party leaders say that much was raised in an off election year.

The Republican House Campaign Committee reported raising about 30% more than the $161,650 taken in during the last off-election year in 2017.

It was more than double the $81,855 raised in 2011, when conservatives gained control of the House and Sam Brownback was in his first year as governor.

While the amount raised was less than the nearly $300,000 brought in during the 2018 election year, it was more than the roughly $192,000 raised during the 2016 election year.