Primary Race 2014: Kansas

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Much like Kentucky, which I wrote about yesterday, Kansas is not a primary race I thought of nor wanted to be talking about.

Incumbent Senator Pat Roberts is seeking his fourth term.  He has been a steadfast conservative by all accounts, though a fixture among the Republican establishment.  His re-election should have been a cakewalk.

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However, Roberts has stumbled into a controversy of his own making.  It was recently discovered he lists as his voting address the home of two longtime political supporters who rent out a room to the senator.

Roberts’ campaign has handled the entire story badly.  The Senator himself told the New York Times that he stays with the couple when in the area. “I have full access to the recliner.”

His campaign then promised to release, in detail, the evidence behind Roberts current living status.  After several days, they changed their mind, and stated they would not comment any further on the story.

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Into this mess enters Milton Wolf, M.D.  What is Dr. Wolf’s primary claim to fame?  He is the second cousin of our current President, Barack Obama.  Wolf has been a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act from the very beginning, and has been a Tea Party activist for years.

Nobody had seriously given Wolf a chance at upsetting the steadfast Roberts, but the new controversy could tip the tables enough to make the race interesting.  Most conservative groups had stayed out of the race until now, and the few that had voiced any opinion had come out in support of the incumbent.

Wolf is hitting Roberts hard on the residency status, basically accusing Roberts of being a Virginian in fact. Several early radio ads show that Wolf will try to discredit Roberts as quickly as possible.

Is this contest seriously in question?  I remain skeptical, but clearly Roberts has provided Wolf with an opening.  I have a soft spot for Wolf, who is a radiologist like myself.  He will have to make the most of Roberts’ stumble to make this a race worth watching.

 

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