Former Brownback official announces congressional run

A former Brownback cabinet official who once hosted a soccer-themed TV show launched a campaign for Congress on Thursday.

Antonio Soave, the state’s former secretary of commerce, announced his run for Kansas’ 2nd congressional district in a statement to The Star Thursday afternoon.

“After prayerful consideration with my family, and so much encouragement from the business community in the second district, I believe now is the time to put my experience to work for Kansas,” Soave said in the statement. “I know what it takes to grow jobs, both as a business owner, and from my experience as Secretary of Commerce, recruiting businesses to our state.”

Soave has had a diverse career that included a stint playing semi-professional soccer in Italy in the 1980s, an internship in the Reagan White House, hosting a soccer travel show broadcast throughout the Middle East and running a consulting business in Overland Park. He once filmed a commercial with Danny DeVito as a part of a campaign to promote peace in the Middle East and published a soccer-themed romance novel in 1998.

The Star had previously reported that Soave was seeking input on a possible bid for the seat, which is will become vacant when U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Topeka Republican, steps down at the end of this term.

He’ll join a crowded Republican field that includes state Sens. Steve Fitzgerald and Caryn Tyson; state Rep. Kevin Jones; and Basehor City Councilman Vernon Fields. If he wins the primary, Soave could face off against Brownback’s 2014 Democratic opponent, Paul Davis, in the general election.

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