Pat Roberts, not surprisingly given his primary performance, is proving to be a weak general election candidate, as the Rothenberg Report details, Pat Roberts is the Most Vulnerable Republican Senator in the Country:
Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts survived a competitive Republican primary but it looks like his toughest race is still to come. Democrat Chad Taylor dropped out of the race on Wednesday leaving independent Greg Orman as the senator’s main challenger and completely changing the math of the race.
A spectacular confluence of events has built the credible scenario that a Republican could lose a U.S. Senate race in Kansas. Roberts is a long-time incumbent who doesn’t live in or regularly return to his home state. He faces a credible and well-funded independent candidate who is striking all the right tones in his message and doesn’t have a legislative record to be picked apart. And Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has fanned the flames of a long-time civil war in the state that is rallying some GOPers against establishment figures within their own party.
For a little bit of a review, the Republican primary was the senator’s first real race in decades. Roberts needed outside help to ramp up his campaign operation to get to something even close to a 21st century effort. And even though Dr. Milton Wolf ended up being a flawed challenger and he failed to rally the biggest, anti-establishment outside groups to his cause, Roberts still only won, 48 percent to 41 percent, in the August 5 primary.
But what might have been more stunning than the result was what Roberts’ long-time campaign manager LeRoy Towns told The Wichita Eagle after the race was over. “He went back home for two days or three to rest. I think he’s going to come back here the first of next week,” said Towns, referencing Roberts’ home in Virginia. Towns’ comments seemed tone deaf considering Roberts was dogged by residency questions throughout the race up to that point and the general election was not completely certain with the threat of a well-funded independent candidate.
Roberts’ lack of time and attention to Kansas caused him problems in the primary, and it’s coming back to haunt him again.
But Roberts may have caught a break, according to Mary Katherine Ham at Hot Air, because the Democrat messed up the deadline to have his name taken off the ballot and may not meet the statutory test for having his name removed anyway.
Regardless, even if the Democrat is on the ballot, there will be big push to get Democrats to vote for the independent.
Who could have seen this coming?
I hope Roberts gets his act together.
UPDATE: The cavalry is arriving:
National Republicans on Thursday moved to take control of the campaign of Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas by sending a longtime party strategist to the state to advise him, a day after his hopes for re-election and those of his party for taking control of the Senate were threatened by the attempted withdrawal of the Democrat in the race.
Also on Thursday, the Kansas secretary of state, Kris Kobach, ruled that the Democratic nominee, Chad Taylor, could not withdraw his name from the ballot, a move likely to set off further legal challenges in the race.
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