For a guy not running for election this year, we sure have seen a lot of President Obama in Kansas.
In just one of several ads opposing Independent Greg Orman, black-and-white video of Obama walking down a White House hallway turns to a colorful sunrise above a broad stretch of prairie.
“It’s a simple question,” the ad says. “Do you support President Obama and his liberal agenda? Or do you believe Kansas and America can do better?”
The political ad doesn’t mention just who you should vote for, but it’s very clear who the Freedom Partners Action Fund does support. The super PAC, funded in part by the conservative Koch Brothers of Kansas, is spending lots of money on GOP incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts.
“A vote for Greg Orman is one more vote Barack Obama,” the ad closes, before adding that “Freedom Partners Action Fund is responsible for the content of this advertising.”
Freedom Partners Action Fund has raised more than $15 million and counting just this year to elect conservative candidates and win back the Senate for the GOP.
So far, more than half of the nearly $5 million spent on Roberts has come from political action committees. And it appears to be working. Polls that showed Orman well ahead a few weeks ago now have the two in a dead heat.
Most of the tightening in the race comes from previously undecided Republicans who are now supporting Roberts, said Patrick Miller, a University of Kansas assistant political science professor. But there are still a lot of undecided voters who are Republicans and Independents, he said.
“There’s this fundamental tension between ‘Do I vote against the guy who I don’t think is doing a good job in the Senate or do I hold my nose and vote to send an anti-Obama message?’” Miller said.
For his part, Orman has been the recipient of a large New York fundraiser attended by many known for supporting Democratic causes and candidates, and a $774,000 ad expenditure by MayDay PAC, a Super PAC that wants to end Super PACs.
For more information on the Koch brothers' PAC contributions, read Peter Overby's piece for NPR.