Tags: | Kansas | Senate | Roberts | Orman

Disgruntled Kansas Tea Partiers Threaten to Sit Out on Roberts

Image: Disgruntled Kansas Tea Partiers Threaten to Sit Out on Roberts
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kans. (Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI/Landov)

By    |   Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 03:06 PM

With the Kansas Senate race considered too close to call, tea party supporters in the state are grumbling that incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts just may not be their cup of tea.

In fact, The Hill reports, Kansas tea party supporters, bitter over the contentious and close primary defeat of their favorite, radiologist Dr. Milton Wolf, are threatening to sit out the tight race altogether, which could be a fatal blow to three-termer Roberts, fighting for his political survival against Independent challenger Greg Orman.

With no Democrat in the race since the withdrawal of Chad Taylor, the Kansas election has turned into a bare-knuckle brawl between Roberts and Orman, and could have a serious national impact on whether Republicans can pull off a takeover of the Senate majority.

Should Republicans only manage to pick up five of the six seats they need for a takeover, and should Orman win, his decision on which party with which to caucus could put him in the catbird seat in control of the Senate majority.

Jack Pitney of Claremont McKenna College, a professor of government, told the Daily Beast, "If the Republicans end up with exactly 50 seats, does he caucus with the Democrats or the Republicans? That gives him very plausible leverage."

Tea party backers are holding meetings in Kansas and Steve Shute of Gardner, a tea party activist, told The Hill, "It all comes back to whether or not there's an agreement reached. I don't know if there's going to be.

"The longer this delays to find results, the greater risk there is that Kansas turns blue or purple."

Republicans are scrambling to shore up support for Roberts by bringing in top conservative and tea party supporters like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Dr. Ben Carson and, next month, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to campaign for the embattled incumbent.

But Kansas tea partiers are demanding some serious commitments from Roberts and the Kansas GOP before they agree to throw their support behind him.

Should Roberts, 78, win and not complete his term, they want a guarantee that Wolf would be appointed to replace him to fill out the term. They want the resignations of some top Kansas GOP officials and an end to a medical board investigation launched against Wolf for allegedly posting patient X-rays online, along with wisecracks.

Meanwhile, Wolf reportedly is in talks with Orman, offering his endorsement if Orman will agree to caucus with Republicans, should he win, Politico reports.

Kansas tea party activist Chuck Henderson told The Hill, "Here in the state of Kansas we are still mightily peeved at Pat Roberts, his staff and everybody on the campaign."

However, with tea party supporters fearing that Orman is a liberal in disguise, Henderson said, in the end, conservatives may have to "hold our noses and vote for Roberts."

RealClearPolitics commented, "The race is obviously very much in flux right now, and the smart bet seems to be that Wolf's supporters will come home for Roberts. But it really is difficult to say in this environment."

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With the Kansas Senate race considered too close to call, tea party supporters in the state are grumbling that incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts just may not be their cup of tea.
Kansas, Senate, Roberts, Orman
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2014-06-01
Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 03:06 PM
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