Jan. 8, 2018 — Veteran Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts (R), who will turn 84 years of age before the next election, announced last Friday that he will not seek re-election to a fifth term in 2020. He becomes the second Senate incumbent to announce his retirement effective 2021, following Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander (R) who made his decision public just before Christmas.
In 2014, Sen. Roberts faced a competitive election against Independent Greg Orman who appeared to coalesce the anti-Roberts vote when Democrat Chad Taylor withdrew from the race because the latter man knew that the senator was certain to win a three-way contest.
With early October polls finding Orman leading Sen. Roberts by as many as 10 percentage points, the veteran Kansas office holder pulled out all of the stops to rebound with a 53-43 percent win. The 2014 Republican wave helped Roberts sweep to victory, overcoming what proved to be largely inaccurate polling along the way.
Pat Roberts was originally elected to Congress in 1980, winning the western 1st District, a seat he would hold for eight terms before claiming an open Senate position in 1996. At the end of the current term he will conclude 40 years of congressional service.
As had been predicted by Kansas political observers since the original judicial hearing earlier this week, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of former Democratic Senate nominee Chad Taylor’s petition to withdraw from the statewide race. Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), who refused to remove Taylor because he is not incapacitated to the point of being unable to fulfill the duties of the office sought as mandated in Kansas election law, says the Democrats have eight days to replace Taylor. The party leadership’s political goal of having Taylor withdraw is to form a united coalition behind Independent candidate Greg Orman who was proving himself stronger than their own nominated contender. Clearly their calculations showed that incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R) had the path to victory in a three-way race.
The Kansas Supreme Court, a panel of six justices (with one vacancy) dominated by former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ (D) appointees, issue rather bizarre language to support their decision. The justices unanimously said that, “[w]e conclude the plain meaning of ‘pursuant to (the law)’ Continue reading >
Several political news bites came forth yesterday suggesting that any doubts about whether Sen. Pat Roberts (R) is now in a toss-up campaign despite Kansas’ deep red Republican voting history have been extinguished. The fact that Republicans must now divert attention and substantial resources to a state that should be a lock for them lessens their chances to secure the Senate majority.
Yesterday, the Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments from attorneys for Democratic candidate Chad Taylor as to why the petition to remove his name from the November Continue reading >
When Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor (D) announced that he was withdrawing from the US Senate race in Kansas in order to give better-performing Independent Greg Orman the opportunity to politically isolate vulnerable US Sen. Pat Roberts (R), the “what if” caucus sprung into action. Though we’ve had many twists and turns around this story during the past week, much speculation abounds as to exactly what will happen in a Roberts-Orman contest, and who would be most adversely affected by the Democratic nominee leaving the political battlefield.
Survey USA provides us our first glimpse into how the candidate field divides sans Taylor. The most definitive number prior to him expressing his desire to leave, a Public Policy Polling study that apparently contributed to Taylor understanding that he had little, if any, chance to win the Senate race, found Orman leading Sen. Roberts 43-33 percent. S-USA sees it differently.
At this moment, Taylor’s name will still appear on the Nov. 4 ballot. The Kansas secretary of state ruled shortly after the Democratic nominee’s desired withdrawal that Taylor’s name would remain on the ballot because Kansas law only allows a post-nomination change in candidate status Continue reading >
For the second time this week, a statewide Democratic Party nominee ended his campaign in order to help a stronger Independent candidate defeat a Republican incumbent. Earlier, Alaska Democrats and Independents agreed to join forces, coalescing around an Independent candidate and former Republican, Bill Walker, with the joint goal of defeating Gov. Sean Parnell (R). Yesterday, Kansas Democratic senatorial nominee Chad Taylor ended his candidacy, thus giving competitive Independent Greg Orman a better chance of unseating Sen. Pat Roberts (R).
Public Policy Polling conducted a post-Aug. 5 primary survey (Aug. 14-17; 903 likely Kansas voters) in the Sunflower State and found Roberts leading a three-way race but attracting only 32 percent support. More significantly, the incumbent trailed Orman by ten percentage points, 33-43 percent, when the two were isolated. This, and the results from private internal polling, were key factors in Taylor making his exit decision.
Though the Democrats give up the opportunity of converting the Kansas seat for one of their own party members, they are coalescing with a political soul mate. Orman toyed with the idea of previously entering a Democratic statewide primary but chose against doing so. Therefore, should he be successful in November and Continue reading >
Freshman Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Milford), a Tea Party favorite tabbed as an “accidental congressman” when he was elected in 2012 – after then-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Livonia) was disqualified from the ballot – lost his bid for renomination last night, as predicted. Attorney David Trott, brandishing endorsements from virtually all key state Republican leaders and overwhelming the incumbent in fundraising, won a huge 66-34 percent win in the 11th District that ended Bentivolio’s ill-conceived congressional career. Trott now faces former State Department official Bobby McKenzie, who barely won (671 vote margin) the Democratic primary against three opponents. Trott is the clear favorite to carry the open seat in November.
In the other incumbent challenge, controversial Tea Party-backed Rep. Justin Continue reading >