- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 24, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to an ambassador’s post (all times local):

6:45 p.m.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, giving his home state a new leader.

Vice President Mike Pence had to cast the deciding vote so that the Republican governor’s nomination by President Donald Trump could be approved on a 50-49 party-line vote.

Brownback planned to resign as governor, but his office in Topeka was not expected to release the details until Thursday. His departure will automatically elevate fellow Republican Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer to governor.

Brownback tweeted his thanks to Trump, Pence and the senators who supported him, saying he’s looking forward to starting in the job.

Colyer said he thinks Brownback will serve in his new position wisely.

But Tom Witt of the LGBT-rights group Equality Kansas expressed strong disappointment.


3 p.m.

Senate Republicans needed a deciding vote from Vice President Mike Pence to advance Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s bid to be ambassador for international religious freedom in the Trump administration.

Pence arrived in the chamber Wednesday afternoon and cast the final vote to cut off debate on Brownback’s nomination. That clears the way for a final vote to confirm Brownback in the post.

Senators voted along party lines, 50-49. Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee were absent.

The conservative Republican governor is a favorite of Christian conservatives. But he faced stiff opposition from Senate Democrats and LGBT rights groups over his views on same-sex marriage and gender identity.

If Brownback is confirmed, fellow Republican Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer would be elevated to governor.

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