Sam Brownback's last campaign didn't go so well; a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, Brownback was making little progress and was out of the race by October 2007.
Tuesday night, however, was — as expected — more successful: A senator since 1996, Brownback is giving up what would be a certain re-election to run for governor of Kansas, and the path is looking promising for him. Tonight he was an easy winner in the GOP primary, crushing former home builder Joan Heffington, and will take on state Sen. Tom Holland, the unopposed Democratic nominee, in the general election. Mark Parkinson, the Republican-turned-Democrat who became governor when Kathleen Sebelius (D) quit last year to join the Obama Cabinet, decided early in this election cycle he would not run.
If he prevails in November, Brownback will be only the sixth incumbent senator to win election as governor in the past half-century or so. The others: Price Daniel (D-Texas) in 1956, Pete Wilson (R-Calif.) in 1990, Dirk Kempthorne (R-Idaho) in 1998, Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) in 2002, and Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) in 2005. Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison tried earlier this year, but lost the GOP primary to incumbent Gov. Rick Perry.