Bob Dole Tries To Rescue GOP In Kansas As Another Poll Shows Pat Roberts Losing
With Pat Roberts’ Senate campaign, not to mention the rest of the GOP statewide ticket, in serious trouble, former Senator Bob Dole is heading home to try to save things:
It has been a rough two-and-a-half weeks for Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, a three-term Republican facing his toughest fight for re-election since arriving in Washington in 1981.
Roberts, who survived a Republican primary challenge, now finds himself unexpectedly locked in an even more competitive general election fight.
But even as he pushes back against criticism that he has been in Washington too long, Roberts is doubling down on his longevity. He’s set to get a helping hand from a golden name in Kansas politics: Bob Dole.
“The battleground for control of the Senate is now Kansas,” Dole, 91, told ABC News. “I think Roberts is going to win.”
Dole, once a staple of the state and national political scene who served as Senate majority leader and lost to Bill Clinton in a 1996 presidential run, will be campaigning for both Roberts and Gov. Sam Brownback going into the midterm elections.
Dole set the record as the longest-serving Republican leader in Congress before he retired in 1996, and is wrapping up a “thank-you” tour that he said will have brought him to every one of Kansas’ 105 counties by the end of October.
Dole, who’s special counsel at the law firm of Alston & Bird in Washington, D.C., said he will also be shooting a commercial for Roberts, and will meet him on the campaign trail starting with an event in Dodge City Monday.
The Democratic candidate, Chad Taylor, announced his withdrawal from the race Sept. 3, but Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach came forward one day later saying Taylor hadn’t made the appropriate case for his name to be removed.
The case came to the state’s Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled in favor of Taylor. Kobach said he would give the state’s Democratic Party a week to name a new candidate and would not be sending overseas ballots like the state originally scheduled for Friday, according to The Associated Press. If they refuse, Kobach said he would review legal options.
Without a Democrat on the ballot to potentially split the vote, some Republicans fear Roberts could be facing an uphill battle. Republicans have since resorted to painting Orman as a donkey in sheep’s clothing.
In a statement released after the decision, Roberts’ campaign manager Corry Bliss accused Democrats of trying to unfairly manipulate the race.
“This is not only a travesty to Kansas voters, but it’s a travesty to the judicial system and our electoral process,” Bliss said.
And Dole is chiming in, too.
“The guy is a Democrat masquerading as an Independent,” Dole told ABC News. “He registered to run as a Democrat in 2007.”
Orman has said he is a moderate and doesn’t know which party he would caucus with, but he has also said he supports neither Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid nor Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
But Dole said Kansans shouldn’t buy it.
“Someone said to me that Orman said he wanted to be a politician like Bob Dole,” Dole said. “I’m Bob Dole, and I can tell you that Greg Orman is not Bob Dole.”
Dole’s trip comes in the wake of yesterday’s decision by the Kansas Supreme Court allowing Democratic nominee Chad Taylor to be removed from the ballot and yet another poll showing that Roberts is losing to Orman:
Other recent polls show Orman faring much better with Taylor gone. A Sept 17 Fox News poll gave Orman a sizable advantage, 48 percent to 42 percent, without Taylor on the ballot. Democratic firm Public Policy Polling put Orman up 41 percent to 34 percent with Taylor on the ballot in their Sept. 16 poll. A Sept. 8 Survey USA poll found Orman up with a 1-point lead, 37 percent to 36 percent, if Taylor were still on the ballot.
In addition to the Senate race, Kansas Republicans are also in trouble in the Governor’s race where first-term Governor Sam Brownback is trailing Democratic nominee State Representative Paul Davis. Additionally, there are reports that Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Tea Party favorite who helped author Arizona’s immigration law several years ago, may also be struggling in his re-election bid. Will Kansas’s favorite son be able to turn things around for the GOP? Only time will tell, but given the situation the party is in it’s certainly worth a shot.