September 3, 2014

This makes things interesting, right in the Koch brothers' back yard. For weeks now, the Kansas Senate race has been split three ways, with independent candidate Greg Orman (pictured above) maintaining a slight edge over Democrat Chad Taylor, but with incumbent Pat Roberts leading both of them.

Today Chad Taylor withdrew from the race, leaving it wide open for Orman to step into the lead against Roberts.

This followed a mass endorsement of 70 Republican politicians in Kansas, who are bothered by how far to the right Roberts has gone.

Wichita Eagle:

Orman would lead Roberts 43 percent to 33 percent in a head-to-head race, according to an August poll from Public Policy Polling.

Another poll from SurveyUSA showed Orman was attracting voters from across the political spectrum.

Chapman Rackaway, a professor of political science at Fort Hays State University, predicted that Taylor’s followers will flock to Orman. “Roberts has the fight of his life on his hands. And if you were going to cast a vote right now you’d be talking about Kansas sending, I believe, our first independent to Kansas,” he said. “This is huge.”

Steve Kornacki interviewed Orman recently, and asked him specifically whether he would caucus with Republicans or Democrats. He was coy about it, leaving the answer to "both sides-ism" rather than specifically answering the question, but he did leave a breadcrumb or two:

ORMAN: Well, you know, I think that`s a great point, Steve. And ultimately, if I get elected there`s a reasonable chance that neither party will have a majority in Washington. And if that`s the case, what I`ve said is I`m going to caucus with whichever party is willing to actually go to Washington and start trying to solve problems as opposed to just pleasing the, extremists in their own base.

Since Democrats kick their hippies around, I'm guessing the extremists aren't on their side of the aisle, but I could be wrong.

No matter who gets elected, Kansas will not suddenly become a liberal bastion. Democrats haven't been elected in that state in nearly a century. But if Orman is elected, there's a better than even chance of keeping the majority in the hands of the Democrats.

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