Vowing he won’t be a “silent soldier” for either party, Greg Orman, the independent candidate for U.S. Senate in Kansas, called on others Wednesday to declare their own independence from partisan gridlock.
Trying to close out a campaign in a race where he was once ahead in the polls, Orman addressed the many negative ads his opponent, GOP incumbent Pat Roberts, and other groups have launched as “not about me.”
The attacks from Roberts, who Orman called a “47-year resident of Virginia,” and others in Washington are “the fury of the broken system lashing back,” he said.
The foundation of his campaign, Orman said, is to remain free of either party, not voting for either Democratic Sen. Harry Reid or Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell as Senate leader. As he has often said, Orman refuses to commit to caucusing with either party.
“If elected, no matter how I vote to organize the senate, I do not intend to be a silent soldier for either the Democrats or Republicans,” Orman said. “I’m going to stand for a better way.”
The surprisingly tight race for the Senate here has come down to a dead heat in the final two weeks before the November election and both candidates were campaigning in what they hope will be fertile ground.
Orman gave his closing speech in the Kansas City suburbs, where he hopes to pick up more moderate Republicans, Democrats and independents. Roberts was out in western Kansas, on a bus tour of what’s called the “Big First” Congressional District, hoping to pick up more conservative votes.
Orman’s speech was held in the Lenexa warehouse of Combat Brands, one of the companies the wealthy businessman owns. Roberts’ campaign manager, Corey Bliss, was quick to point out that the company is the subject of a lawsuit – which Orman’s campaign said is unfounded – and said Roberts launched another attack ad Wednesday about Ormans’ “shady business dealings.”
Although many moderate Republicans are supporting Orman, Roberts picked up one high-profile centrist Wednesday. Former Kansas Gov. Bill Graces offered his public support for Roberts in a radio ad.