Tea Party Patriots backs Roberts
© Greg Nash

The Tea Party Patriots is endorsing Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsRepublicans think Trump is losing trade war Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA This week: House GOP regroups after farm bill failure MORE (R-Kan.), a boost for the senator as he struggles to shore up conservative support for his reelection bid.

Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin, in a statement obtained first by The Hill, says there's "too much at stake not to support" Roberts.

"We reached out to our people in Kansas, and they overwhelmingly supported this endorsement. They know this race is too important to sit out," she adds.

"The only way to make President Obama a true lame duck is to take away Harry Reid's majority and his nuclear option. If Democrats get a pickup in Kansas for the first time since 1932, that road is a lot tougher. It is time for conservatives in the Sunflower State to answer the call."

Polling has shown Roberts running neck-and-neck with his independent challenger, businessman Greg Orman. The incumbent emerged as surprisingly vulnerable in such a deep red state after a bruising primary during which he took significant flak from his opponent after it was revealed he no longer lives in the state.

Those residency questions dogged him through the general, and he was initially trailing Orman by double-digits, prompting national Republicans to call in a veritable army of high-profile surrogates and veteran strategists to help him right the ship.

The most recent public poll of the race, conducted around mid-October, gave Roberts a four-point lead on Orman, but the independent held a slight lead over him in three polls prior to that. 

Contributing to Roberts's persistent weakness is a widespread dissatisfaction among conservatives in Kansas, who are frustrated with what they say was mistreatment from Roberts and the GOP establishment in the state during and prior to the primary. Roberts's staff, and the senator himself, have taken steps to thaw relations with conservatives, and while some say they'll vote for him for lack of any better options, others plan to sit the race out.

The Tea Party Patriots endorsement could help win over some of those disaffected conservatives as Roberts heads into the final stretch of the race.