Elections

Kansas Senate race may not be sure GOP win

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts raises his arms in the air as a crowd of supporters cheer for him on Tuesday Aug. 5, 2014, while watching primary votes come in at the Overland Park, Kan., Marriott Hotel. (AP Photo/Topeka Capital-Journal, Chris Neal)
Kansas Senator Pat Roberts raises his arms in the air as a crowd of supporters cheer for him on Tuesday Aug. 5, 2014, while watching primary votes come in at the Overland Park, Kan., Marriott Hotel. (AP Photo/Topeka Capital-Journal, Chris Neal) AP

Kansas’ U. S. Senate race may be more volatile than usual.

Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, moved the race from “safe Republican” to “likely Republican,” and a new poll showed incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, leading the field, but with 37 percent.

Here’s Sabato’s analysis:

“Despite facing a weak primary opponent in physician Milton Wolf (R), Roberts didn’t even crack 50 percent in the primary held earlier this month. The primary campaign revealed Roberts to be rather weak himself, particularly because he basically doesn’t even live in Kansas, a modern-day political no-no.

“Some recent polls, have shown Roberts leading but under 40 percent against two main opponents: Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor (D) and businessman Greg Orman, an independent former Democrat who can heavily self-fund.

“Let’s be clear: Kansas hasn’t elected a Democratic senator since 1932, and Roberts’ poor performance as a candidate isn’t by itself enough to change that, particularly because the split field might actually benefit the incumbent in a state with no runoff.”

A new Survey USA poll found “Independent Greg Orman continues to make life difficult for both 3-term Republican Roberts and his Democratic challenger.”

The survey found Roberts at 37, Democrat Chad Taylor at 32 percent and Orman at 20 percent.

“Orman siphons votes across the board,” the poll said, getting 20 percent of conservatives, 24 percent of moderates and 17 percent of liberals.

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