Tea Party Groups Endorse Challenger In Kansas GOP Primary Contest

Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 11:51 AM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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With less than a month until Kansas Republicans hold their primary, two national tea party groups are aiming to recover from their loss in Mississippi by defeating incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts.

Both the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Atlanta-based Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund announced their endorsements of radiologist Milton Wolf.

"Dr. Milton Wolf embodies the values of personal freedom, economic freedom and a debt-free future," TPPCF Chairman Jenny Beth Martin said in a post on their website. "He's the right conservative candidate at the right time to tell the Establishment, ‘The Obama agenda stops here, and it stops now.'"

Not all tea party supporters are taking sides in the August 5 primary contest. The Lawrence Journal-World noted the Club for Growth, which also supports most Tea Party candidates, has declined to offer an endorsement in the Kansas primary.

According to the latest SurveyUSA survey, Roberts holds a 56-23 lead over Wolf. The June poll was of likely voters.

Wolf's campaign has focused its attacks on the fact that Roberts has been in Washington since 1981 when he won election to the House. Roberts has served in the Senate since 1997.

Roberts has offered an unintentional assist to Wolf's efforts to paint him as a politician beholden to interests in Washington, rather than the concerns of average Kansans.

In a February interview with the New York Times, Roberts admitted that he did not own a home in his home state and that the house he lists as his voting address is actually owned by two longtime supporters and donors.

Adding salt to the wound, Roberts acknowledged establishing his voting address at that location one day before Wolf announced his candidacy.

Pressed about the issue of his residency in a radio interview with KCMO, Roberts awkwardly responded: "Every time I get an opponent — I mean, every time I get a chance, I'm home."

In May, Roberts survived a challenge to his candidacy when a state board unanimously rejected claims by eight Kansas residents that because he lives in Alexandria, Virginia, he should not be permitted to remain on the ballot. Roberts is registered to vote in Dodge City, Kansas.

Endorsements may not be sufficient to unseat Roberts, whose campaign began the final month before the August 5 primary with more than $2.05 million in cash on hand, despite having spent $1.05 million from April through June.

During that same period, the Wolf campaign spent $340,000 and began July with about $280,000 in cash on hand, according to The Associated Press.

According to The Associated Press, the American Hospital Association has spent $212,000 on television advertisements lauding his efforts in support of rural health care.

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