Pat Roberts in Trouble in Kansas?

The Republican establishments inability to let go of tired old dogs and allow room for new, fresh thinkers to break through may yet cause them a problem in the Kansas Senate race. “Democrat Chad Taylor has dropped out of the Kansas Senate race, complicating Sen. Pat Roberts’s (R-Kan.) reelection fight”.

Taylor, the Shawnee County district attorney, submitted papers to withdraw himself from the ballot shortly before the 5 p.m. CT deadline.

Pat Roberts’ problem  is that independent Greg Orman is surging and libertarian Randall Batson also remains in the race.

Taylor’s exit may create more of a headache for Roberts, who has emerged as surprisingly vulnerable in recent weeks, with multiple polls showing him holding just a single-digit lead in the race with Orman surging. 

The GOP incumbent emerged from a contentious primary fight with his campaign coffers depleted and his profile in the state bruised due to a heavy focus from his primary opponent on questions of whether he actually lives in Kansas.

Though Taylor had so far performed the best against the senator in a four-way matchup, Orman fared better in a head-to-head matchup polled by a Democratic pollster in mid-August, leading Roberts by double digits.

Orman has surged since entering the race, from single-digit support to 20 percent of the vote in the most recent survey.

At a minimum, the new dynamics may force the GOP to spend time and money that’s needed elsewhere in defending Roberts. Additionally, voters looking for a change likely don’t see that in Roberts, who emerged as a symbol of an old and some say corrupt GOP establishment after a bitter primary. D.C. Republicans declared war on the GOP activist base during that and other primaries. Now, if it fails to show up for them in November it could cost them in a number of ways.

And though he hasn’t yet said which party he’d caucus with if he’s the deciding vote for control of the Senate, Democrats in the state see Orman as their best option to defeat Roberts — and have been working to pressure Taylor out of the race since the state Democratic Party convention two weeks ago on Aug. 24.

National Republicans haven’t yet weighed in on the race, but one report indicated the National Republican Senatorial Committee is facing pressure to send resources down to support Roberts, and there’s talk of a campaign staff shakeup for the incumbent.


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