I had a real busy weekend. I had a real busy week. My shootin’ buddy and I spent Thursday at the range practicing for a pistol match coming up next month. Saturday night was a Friends of the NRA dinner and auction in H’ville. Then Sunday afternoon was the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance 25th Anniversary picnic.
I’m pretty much whooped. Still…I’d do it again in a second.
The Kansas Senatorial race continues to be in the front of the news. I’ve had some friends ask me what the controversy is all about. It’s this, as briefly as I can explain.
There are (were) three candidates running for US Senator; Pat Roberts, the incumbent on the Republican Ticket, Chad Taylor on the democrat ticket, and Greg Orman, a democrat who the democrats wouldn’t let run against Taylor in the primary. Orman decided to run as an ‘independent.’ In reality, it’s two democrats running against one ‘Pub. Ordinarily, this would be a shoo-in for Roberts because Orman would split the democrat votes with Taylor.
Suddenly, the environment changed. Polls indicated that Orman was running better against Roberts than Taylor. To the democrats, this meant one of their candidates was a possible winner, especially since Roberts pissed off much of the grass-roots conservatives who had backed Milton Wolf. A significant percentage of those Wolf supporters declared they would either vote for Orman or stay home.
The democrats were now in a dilemma. Orman, a democrat in an independent’s costume, was ahead of Taylor. They decided to have Taylor quit. That would allow the democrats to vote for Orman instead of splitting their votes between the two democrat candidates.
The Kansas democrat leaders forced Chad Taylor to quit.
After a series of legal shenanigans, with the aid of their left-leaning KS Supreme Court, they got Taylor off the ticket. Bad news for Roberts. But Orman isn’t the clean-cut, scandal-free candidate the democrats and he projects. He is being sued for failure to pay royalties to another company for the use of their patented technology.
The establishment ‘Pubs are rallying around Roberts and Orman is facing more scrutiny from the national press. Surprise, surprise! Orman is keeping closed-mouth about what his political views?
WICHITA — Greg Orman, the upstart Senate candidate threatening to unseat longtime Republican incumbent Pat Roberts in Kansas, says it’s liberating to run as an independent: “I can go to Washington as a problem solver, not a partisan.”
But not having a party also liberates Orman from taking positions — especially on controversial issues that might alienate partisans.
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.
Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, left, and independent candidate Greg Orman talk after a debate at the Kansas State Fair Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Hutchinson, Kansas. (Charlie Riedel/AP)
“It’s not in the best interests for us to say that,” Orman said in an interview here last week.
Orman has said he would caucus with whichever party has the majority after November’s midterm elections. But what if the Senate is evenly divided and Orman’s decision swings the balance? He said that would be “a wonderful opportunity for Kansas.”
Orman’s rise has transformed deep-red Kansas into the year’s unlikeliest political battleground. Many voters say Roberts has lost touch with the state he’s represented in Congress since 1981.
Since Democratic nominee Chad Taylor withdrew his name from the ballot this month, Roberts has been in a two-man race with Orman, who has previous ties to the Democratic Party but preaches independence. Public polling has been unreliable, but both sides believe the race is very tight.
Orman, who entered the race in June, has surged on the strength of his pitch to fix a broken Washington without any allegiance to a political party. But now the enigma is under increasing pressure from voters to provide a clearer sense of his ideology and politics, while facing attacks from the Roberts camp over his business ties and Democratic past.
“I’ve been impressed with Greg so far, but we’re still in the ‘I’m an independent’ stage,” said Lynda Neff, 68, a retired teacher. “I’m ready to move past that and hear about some issues. . . . I will support him if he gives me a little more information.”
Perhaps the biggest test for Orman, a multimillionaire investor who is partially funding his campaign, is surviving the intensifying public scrutiny of his business and personal relationships with Rajat Gupta, the former Goldman Sachs board member who was convicted in 2012 of insider trading and is serving a federal prison sentence.
Election Lab: See our current forecast for every congressional race in 2014.
Roberts and his Republican allies have launched a barrage of attacks designed to make Orman appear untrustworthy. On the campaign trail in Kansas last week, a parade of top Republicans alleged that Orman is a liberal Democrat in disguise.
“Anybody with a liberal record like Greg’s . . . that’s not independence. That’s someone who’s trying to snooker you, Kansas,” Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and vice-presidential nominee, said Thursday in Independence.
Palin’s 2008 running mate, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), told voters a day earlier in suburban Overland Park: “Let’s be honest — he’s a Democrat. He walks like a duck and he quacks like a duck and he is a duck.”
Robert J. Dole, a former Senate Republican leader and 91-year-old Kansas legend, said Monday night in Dodge City, “There’s a multimillionaire who claims he’s an independent, but really [he’s] in the other party.”
In Kinsley on Tuesday, after reporters asked whether he trusted Orman to govern as an independent, Roberts said, “All of a sudden, if there’s a metamorphosis and the caterpillar changed — why, I just don’t think that’s in the cards.”
Orman argues that the Republicans are reading him wrong. He said he voted for Obama in 2008, and public records show that in the middle of that decade he made donations mostly to Democrats, including Obama and Sen. Al Franken (Minn.). In 2008, he briefly ran for Senate against Roberts as a Democrat before dropping out.
The column by the Washington Post is long. You can read it completely on their website.
I was surprised that the Washington Post says the new Senate will be ‘Pub controlled, 62 to 48 given their history of biased reporting. Joni Ernst now leads Braley, 44 percent to 38 percent. Most of the polling over the last month or more has Ernst in the lead but the MSM claimed otherwise and called Iowa a ‘leaning blue’ state.
Des Moines Register: “The ground under Bruce Braley has shifted. The Democratic U.S. Senate candidate is 6 points behind his GOP rival, Joni Ernst, according to The Des Moines Register’s new Iowa Poll of likely voters. Ernst leads 44 percent to 38 percent in a race that has for months been considered deadlocked…. One potential reason: Two-thirds of likely voters who live in the country are bothered by a remark he made about Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley that’s been perceived as besmirching farmers.”
Braley should have known that dissing farmers in Iowa is not a career-enhancing tactic.