With the withdrawal of Democrat Chad Taylor from the U.S. Senate race in Kansas, Republican Pat Roberts may be in the most contentious race of his political career. Roberts has represented Kansas in the U.S. Senate for the past 40 years. He is challenged for re-election this November from Greg Orman, Independent, and Randall Batson, the Libertarian candidate.Taylor, District Attorney for Shawnee County, announced his decision to end his senatorial campaign this afternoon.
Orman , running as an Independent, has stated his desire to serve "as a problem solver, not a partisan". He has cited the gridlock in Washington D.C. as evidence that the two major political parties are too entrenched in fighting to accomplish meaningful legislation, and adequate representation of their constituents. Orman has picked up some key endorsements, including those of Jim Sherow, Democratic candidate for the 1st Congressional District in Kansas, and from 70 former Republican legislators, many of whom support Paul Davis, Democratic candidate for Governor. And current polls have shown Orman gaining widespread support across the state, as Roberts numbers are slipping.
Meanwhile, the Roberts campaign is trying to downplay the surge in the Orman campaign. Leroy Towns, Roberts' campaign manager, alleges that the Independent Orman is a 'closet Democrat", who is the choice of liberals throughout the state.
Whatever the outcome this November, it's clear that as this race heats up in the next couple of months, it will be a most interesting one to watch. It is even attracting national attention. For the first time in many years, there are some serious choices to be made, with possible national implications. Kansas voters have a real chance to make history this fall.