As Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) prepares for re-election, a report out of the Senate finds that he visited his home state less than 100 days in the last two years, spending the rest of his time in Washington, D.C.
A USA Today report says that official expense records show that Roberts submitted costs for under 100 days out of D.C. since 2011.
“Roberts spent official funds to travel to Kansas 26 times over the course of two years,” records show, “spending a total of 97 days in the state between July 2011 and August 2013.”
The report comes after Roberts’ primary opponent, radiologist Milton Wolf, claimed that Roberts shouldn’t qualify as a state resident because all his time is spent in Washington, not Kansas.
“After 47 years in Washington, it’s clear that Kansas is a distant memory for Pat Roberts,” Wolf charged. “How else do you explain Roberts wanting to spend his time anywhere but Kansas? Maybe if he still lived here he’d actually want to return here.”
Roberts informed the state that he is registered to vote in Kansas, has a recently renewed Kansas driver’s license, and pays taxes there, as well.
Ultimately, the state election board unanimously rejected Wolf’s challenge of the Senator’s status and determined that Roberts was an official resident of Kansas.
But Roberts is under 50 percent in his home state among Republicans, a bad sign for any incumbent looking for re-election.
A recent polling report from Public Policy Polling discovered that only 42 percent of Republicans said they would vote to re-nominate Roberts for the 2014 elections. The same poll found that he had only a 29 percent job approval rating.
Roberts does, however, have a comfortable lead over opponent Wolf. But that poll was taken before the full force of the residency charge took effect. And such a charge has proven effective before. In 2012, long-serving and powerful Indiana Senator Richard Lugar lost his bid for re-election when he ran into a similar charge in the Hoosier State. Lugar spent most of his time in Washington, D.C., and little time home in Indiana. Voters ended up tossing him from office because of it.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.