WASHINGTON -- Susan Pompeo, the wife of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has waded into a Kansas congressional race with an endorsement and an upcoming fundraiser in Washington for candidate Amanda Adkins.
Adkins' campaign announced Tuesday that Susan Pompeo had endorsed her campaign for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District.
The release touted Pompeo's status as a philanthropist and the former senior vice president of Emprise Bank, but it did not mention her husband's role as the nation's top diplomat.
The secretary of state would be restricted from making an endorsement himself under the Hatch Act, a 1939 law that regulates political activities by federal employees, including Cabinet secretaries.
"There's a wink and a nod here, of course," said Burdett Loomis, a political scientist at the University of Kansas.
"A Pompeo is endorsing Adkins--yeah, I think that makes news and it makes news because her name is Pompeo."
Adkins, a Cerner executive on unpaid leave during the campaign, served as Kansas Republican chairwoman when Mike Pompeo was first elected to the U.S. House in 2010.
But Adkins' relationship with Susan Pompeo goes back for nearly 20 years through their involvement in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Excellence in Public Service Series, a program that promotes leadership roles for Republican women.
"It is an honor to have Susan's support for my run for Congress, and it has been an inspiration to work with her to promote Republican Women and conservative causes in Kansas all these years," Adkins said in a statement.
Loomis said the Wichita Republican's endorsement likely means little for voters in the Kansas City area district, but it could serve as a signal to elite Republican donors to get behind Adkins.