Speed Reads

2014 Watch

Independent candidate Greg Orman edges out GOP Sen. Pat Roberts in new Kansas poll

Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is now genuinely in serious danger of losing reelection to independent challenger Greg Orman, in the suddenly very topsy-turvy campaign going on in the normally Republican stronghold of Kansas.

In the new SurveyUSA poll conducted for the local NBC affiliate in Topeka, Orman has 37 percent support, in a dead heat with Roberts at 36 percent, plus Democratic nominee Chad Taylor with 10 percent — despite the fact that Taylor dropped out of the race late last week — along with Libertarian candidate Randall Batson with 6 percent. The survey of likely voters was conducted from Sept. 4–7, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percent.

Taylor's name will likely remain on the ballot, after a decision by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) that Taylor did not meet the requirements for his name to be removed. Taylor is challenging this move, however, saying that he was told by officials in Kobach's department that his notice for removal would be legally sufficient.

Orman and Roberts held a contentious debate on Saturday at the Kansas State Fair, with Roberts calling Orman "a liberal Democrat by philosophy," and demanding an answer for which party Orman would caucus with in the Senate, while Orman sought to present himself as a moderate alternative to partisan politics.

The latest developments in Kansas have posed a surprising obstacle for Republican hopes to win control of the Senate, in a state that Republicans have been able to count on for generations. The last time Kansas elected any non-Republican to the Senate was way back in 1932, with the first landslide election of President Franklin Roosevelt.