Republican Incumbent Pat Roberts Keeps His Kansas Senatorial Seat, But It Was Close
In another win for the Republican Party in Kansas, Incumbent Senator Pat Roberts kept his seat, despite an extremely close race against Independent Greg Orman on Tuesday night. Roberts has held the position since 1997 and previously served eight terms as a representative as well as the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
Roberts' win keeps the state red for another four years, which is nothing new — voters have elected Republicans for the last 98 years. Still, the neck-in-neck nature of the race was unprecedented. In September, Roberts' campaign was dealt a blow when leaked documents revealed that the Senator listed a Virginia home as his primary residence and rented out his Kansas home.
The race has been one of the most unpredictable outcomes of this year's midterm election. As Real Clear Politics reports,
This all started when physician Milton Wolf decided to challenge incumbent Republican Pat Roberts in the primary. That challenge ultimately fizzled, but Roberts was held to under 50 percent of the vote. Many of Wolf’s supporters suggested that they would stay home, and polling showed an unusually tight three-way race between Roberts, Democrat Chad Taylor, and Independent Greg Orman. Taylor subsequently announced that he would drop out of the race, setting up an Orman-Roberts battle. Orman had actually led Roberts in head-to-head polling, although there was a huge number of undecided. Compounding the back-and-forth, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach announced that Taylor would have to remain on the ballot. 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.
Roberts' win was instrumental to the GOP securing the 51 seats needed to control the Senate. Roberts added to one of the many seats Republicans needed to become the majority after picking up victories in Arkansas, West Virginia, Montana, and South Dakota.