Senate races

Koch brothers-backed group ties Kansas independent to Obama

Greg Nash

A major Republican outside group is wading into the Kansas Senate race, declaring “a vote for [independent] Greg Orman is one more vote for Barack Obama” in its first ad.

{mosads}The ad is the first of a reported $500,000 campaign in the state from Freedom Partners Action Fund, a new group affiliated with the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch.

It asks: “Do you support President Obama and his liberal agenda, or do you believe Kansas and America can do better?”

The ad says “liberal Democrats across America” support Orman, because “they know he’ll support President Obama,” pointing to the candidate’s contributions to Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) as evidence.

Republicans have made clear their strategy to defend Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), who’s trailed Orman in multiple recent polls, centers on defining Orman as a closet Democrat beholden to the national party and President Obama.

Orman has said he’ll caucus with whichever party holds the majority in the Senate, but he hasn’t indicated which party he’d choose if control of the Senate hinges on Kansas. Republicans say his contributions to Democrats, positions on various issues — like ObamaCare, which he’s said won’t be repealed — and his staff, many of whom have worked with Democratic candidates before, make it clear where his allegiances lie.

Orman has, however, contributed to Republicans and registered as a member of the GOP in the past.

Orman’s campaign manager, Jim Jonas, slammed the ads as “misleading” and said the group was engaging in the race because Roberts is “desperate.

“Senator Roberts’ special interest allies in Washington are repeating the same old misleading attacks to protect the broken system in Washington, and because Senator Roberts is desperate to keep his job. Kansans are fed up with the political games in Washington, and they’re supporting businessman Greg Orman because he’ll be an independent voice for Kansas,” he said. 

This post was updated at 4:36 p.m. 

Tags 2014 Kansas Senate Race Greg Orman Pat Roberts
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