The GOP's Senate fortunes seem to have taken a step forward over the last week or so, with polling showing Republicans leading in eight contests over Democrat-held seats (AK, AR, CO, IA, LA, MT, SD, WV) -- and within striking distance in three more races (MI, NC, NH). The party must gain six net seats in November to demote Harry Reid and reclaim the upper chamber majority. But one match-up in the heartland is giving Republicans unexpected heartburn. Voters in Kansas -- a state Mitt Romney carried 60-38 over President Obama in 2012 -- are flirting with the idea of ousting longtime Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts in favor of an "independent" challenger. Roberts ran an uninspiring, sluggish primary campaign, in which he was dinged for not owning a home in the state he represents. Though he eventually bested his Republican competitor, Democrats sensed blood in the water.
They've since convinced their own nominee, elected by actual Kansans, to drop out of the race, leaving no official Democrat on the ballot. (The state supreme court ruled that even though the erstwhile candidate exited the race without crossing and dotting the necessary T's and I's, they'd allow his voter-disenfranchising maneuver to stand). The man who now stands as Roberts' only serious opposition is Greg Orman, a born-again "independent." According to polling, which is still unsettled in the wake of the ballot upheaval, Orman holds a single-digit lead over Roberts. Who is this guy? Put simply, he's a Democrat, despite his denials. He's donated thousands to Obama, Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid, but now he's playing games by declining to state which party he'd caucus with, if elected. That's not the only topic on which he's ducking and dissembling. Meet the candidate who won't tell voters what he stands for:
Greenlight the Keystone XL pipeline? Orman said he doesn’t have enough information to say yes or no. What about gun control? He said gun restrictions should be “strengthened” but would not specify whether he backs an assault-weapons ban. And on the biggest question of all — Would he caucus with Democrats or Republicans? — Orman insists he’s not sure.
The evasions don't end there:
When I talked to orman, he dodged on keystone, fed min wage hike, same sex marriage (1/2)— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) September 29, 2014
Asked by a potential constituent whether he'd support repealing Obamacare, Orman offered a complete non-answer and walked away:
"You know, that's an interesting question!"
Is there any doubt where this man's sympathies lie? Greg Orman is a liberal Democrat who's temporarily peddling a message of nonpartisan, solutions-oriented independence. His goal is to conceal his agenda and ideology just long enough to run out the clock and knock off an incumbent who's slumbered his way through much of the campaign. (Roberts won his last race by 24 percentage points). Alarmed, national Republicans are pulling out all the stops to save Roberts, parachuting major figures from across the center-right spectrum to bolster his re-election: John McCain, Bob Dole, Jeb Bush, Sarah Palin, and Ben Carson. Netting six seats is a tough enough task. Needing seven to overcome a loss in Kansas, of all places, could deal a death blow to Republicans' hopes. Republicans are hoping that they have enough time to educate the Kansas electorate about who Greg Orman really is -- including his deep ties to a disgraced white collar criminal: