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Election Day Mobilization Drove Kansas GOP Victories

Stephen Koranda
Kansas Public Radio

Following the strong Republican wins in Kansas elections this week, some people are trying to determine what drove the wave of victories for Republicans. Sen. Pat Roberts and Gov. Sam Brownback both won their races, but many polls before the election showed them neck-and-neck with their challengers or losing.

One idea in the Kansas Statehouse is that Sen. Pat Roberts' race had a ripple effect. The story goes that Roberts attracted a lot of attention and help from outside groups, which boosted him above independent Greg Orman. Those Roberts voters then supported other Republicans like Gov. Brownback and candidates for the state Legislature.

But Fort Hays State University Political Science Professor Chapman Rackaway believes it's even simpler than that. He says Republicans just turned out in greater numbers.

"There's one thing that polls cannot predict, and that is Election Day mobilization," says Rackaway.

Rackaway says the Republican Party in Kansas has sophisticated political modeling and systems they've built that help them contact people effectively and get them to vote.

"They have the staff, they have the data, they have the will, they have the resources to be able to do all of that," says Rackaway.

Rackaway says this was one of the challenges for Greg Orman. Being an independent, he had no party system to rely on to turn out voters, and he lost by 10 points to Roberts.

As the Kansas News Service managing editor, I help our statewide team of reporters find the important issues and breaking news that impact people statewide. We refine our daily stories to illustrate the issues and events that affect the health, well-being and economic stability of the people of Kansas. Email me at skoranda@kcur.org.
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