Roberts Defeats Tea Party Challenger

Andrea Drusch
Aug. 6, 2014, 7:35 a.m.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R) se­cured the nom­in­a­tion to run for a fourth term Tues­day night, de­feat­ing phys­i­cian and tea party chal­lenger Milton Wolf (R). With 100% of pre­cincts re­port­ing:

Pat Roberts: 48%Milton Wolf: 41%D.J. Smith: 6%Alv­in Zahnter: 5%(AP)

“The race might have gone a dif­fer­ent dir­ec­tion had it not been for votes drawn by two polit­ic­al un­knowns crowding the primary”¦Deeply con­ser­vat­ive D.J. Smith drew 6 per­cent, and the some­what liber­tari­an Alv­in Zahnter pulled 5 per­cent. Had their anti-es­tab­lish­ment sup­port gone Wolf’s way, he might have pulled off the up­set.” 

In his vic­tory speech, Roberts thanked his cam­paign, not­ing their job hadn’t been easy thanks to some of his per­son­al blun­ders. “My posse did not flinch,” he said. “Even though there were times when their can­did­ate — me — stepped on our mes­sage.” 

“Polit­ic­al odds­makers con­sider Roberts a fa­vor­ite to hold his seat.” While Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee Chad Taylor (D) “was un­avail­able for com­ment Tues­day night, [in­de­pend­ent can­did­ate Greg] Or­man (I) was eager to start the gen­er­al elec­tion.” (Ort­man is not yet on the bal­lot, he awaits cer­ti­fic­a­tion of the sig­na­tures he’s sub­mit­ted.)

“Or­man’s can­did­acy could be a com­plic­at­ing factor for both ma­jor party can­did­ates. He’s raised sig­ni­fic­antly more money than Taylor and has already run TV ads in mar­kets across the state. But pre-primary polling shows Or­man pulling votes from Roberts as well as Taylor.” (Kan­sas City Star)

Chap­man Rack­away, a pro­fess­or of polit­ic­al sci­ence at Fort Hays State Uni­versity, said “I don’t see Chad Taylor at this stage as a vi­able threat, but I cer­tainly do see Or­man, who’s got deep pock­ets, as someone who may make a run.”

“Roberts ac­cused Or­man of be­ing a Demo­crat mas­quer­ad­ing as an in­de­pend­ent.” (Wichita Eagle)

DESSERT: Wolf said in an in­ter­view with ABC be­fore the elec­tion that he thought his x-ray photo gaffe was likely help­ing him. “People”¦are com­ing up to us from the very first time the story broke,” Wolf said. [So this has helped you?] “I think it has.” (ABC)

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