Election 2014

How An Independent Candidate Could Determine Control of the Senate

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Greg Orman

An independent running in the Kansas Senate race has the potential to shake up the midterms this November. On Wednesday the Democratic Senate candidate, Chad Taylor, withdrew from the race, leaving incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts to face off against independent candidate Greg Orman. Not only that, but there's a chance Orman could win. While FiveThirtyEight forecasts Republicans have a 63.4% chance of taking the Senate this fall, there is a chance this independent candidate could be the decisive vote between Republican and Democratic control of the chamber.

First, if the Senate is split, the Republicans would lose a secure Republican seat and if Greg Orman wins, he could decide to caucus with either the Democrats or Republicans, throwing them Senate control.

Second, there is a chance Orman could actually win. A PPP Poll found that, what was at the time a hypothetical match-up, Greg Orman would beat his Republican opponent 43 to 33 percent. This is surprising given that the same poll found the same Republican beating the Democratic challenger 43 to 39 percent. So voters would favor the Republican against the Democrat, but perhaps an independent over a Republican.

One reason Orman may fare better than the Democrat against Sen. Pat Roberts is that Roberts nearly lost his primary to a Tea Party-backed challenger. Subsequent the primary, disaffected Republicans may be looking for a non-partisan alternative.

Third, Orman has nearly the same favorability (24%) rating as the incumbent Republican, Pat Roberts, (27%), and higher than the former Democratic candidate (15%). The main point of difference is that Orman has predictably lower unfavorable ratings (12% v 44%) and voters are less likely to have an opinion of him (64% to 29%). While Roberts clearly has the fundraising advantage, Orman raised roughly 6 times the amount in individual contributions compared to the Democratic candidate ($625,000 to $120,000).

If Orman wins, it remains unclear if he'd caucus with the Republicans or Democrats. Politico reports he has run in the past both as a Republican and a Democrat. He gave money to Barack Obama in 2008 but then to Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts in 2009. Orman says he'll most likely caucus with the majority party, but he would be drawn to the party most committed to fixing problems in 1) health care 2) the tax code 3) and entitlement programs among other pressing issues.

His prioritization for reforming entitlements, health care, and taxes combined with his Princeton economics degree, McKinsey consulting pedigree, and experience founding his own energy efficient lighting company, suggests him to be a centrist fiscal reformer, with a penchant for pragmatism over ideology.

NEXT: HealthCare.Gov Was Hacked In July

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  1. “a centrist fiscal reformer, with a penchant for pragmatism over ideology”

    Like Michael Dukakis!

    1. Beat me to it, except I was going to say “Just like Obama!”

      1. Or for us old folks, John Anderson.

        1. ‘Get clean for Gene!’

        2. That swine was our rep… I still have a mug and button from his Presidential Announcement. I bet I could get $.25 on eBay for it.

  2. “a centrist fiscal reformer, with a penchant for pragmatism over ideology”

    That’s a lot of words to say “weather vane”.

  3. I’m going to jump in on this too:

    a centrist fiscal reformer, with a penchant for pragmatism over ideology

    This sentence actually means ‘I’m a total ideologue, but I’m also dishonest.’

  4. Hasn’t every “Independent” ever caucused with the Dems?

    1. Within my memory, yes. Not sure about anything before the seventies.

      But that data is descriptive rather than prescriptive.

  5. a centrist fiscal reformer, with a penchant for pragmatism over ideology

    Honest campaign commercial:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ5cGYBV2TQ

  6. OT: new heaviest dinosaur ever discovered; given the awesome name of Dreadnoughtus:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..ng_strip_3

    1. I think a “weaponized tail” is what the libertarian party needs to develop!
      I’d kick in ten bucks!

  7. The Tea Party Challenger is, incidentally, a second cousin to Obama. That angle amused me.

  8. centrist fiscal reformer, with a penchant for pragmatism over ideology

    So the same bullshit that Ekins uses to claim the millenials are “libertarian”. What is the fiscal center? Spend more than John Boehner?

    1. Strangely, the fiscal center continues moving left just as we are accelerating towards the worst, most radically right governments in history (which I am assured by all reasonable people the Tea Party and Sarah Palin represent).

      It’s almost as if the right is less an actual threat to the near-total dominance of the left in the federal government and nearly all civil bureaucracy, and more a shadow puppet that the left occasionally pretends to fight in order to assure its followers that they need to mobilize.

      1. Here’s his issues page if anyone’s interested.

        1. Yeah, this guy sounds pretty awful.

          1. He was talking a good game until I got to the “Second Amendment” position where he repeats the stupid “gun show loophole” fallacy. Then there’s this.

            If I’m elected, there’s a reasonable chance that neither party would have a majority in the US Senate. If that is the case, I will work with the other independent Senators to caucus with the party that is most willing to face our country’s difficult problems head on and advance our problem-solving, non-partisan agenda.

            I wonder which party will win the support of this fruitcake, Bernie Sanders and Joe Liebermann?

        2. Jesus Fucking Christ. I’d rather see that crazy Wobbly math teacher from Montana in the Senate than this turd.
          If they were running against each other I’d write her a check

    2. And here I thought pragmatism meant you support what works, as opposed to pushing the same failed policies of the status quo.

  9. So can someone explain to me how “fiscal centrism” and support for “pragmatism over ideology” is the harbinger of the libertarian moment considering how those terms are a pretty clear rejection of libertarianism?

    1. Exactly – The libertarian positions would be labeled extreme-right radicalism.

  10. centrist fiscal reformer, with a penchant for pragmatism over ideology

    Let’s thinks about what this means honestly. Basically it means that the Republicans are crazy budget-cutters. Considering how the Republicans are anything but that then I fail to see how these things are the harbinger of some libertarian moment.

  11. So, the article claims that he wants to fix health care, taxes, and entitlements, yet he might cacus with the dems? That makes sense only if he’s lying through his teeth about what he “wants” to fix.

    Oh and is it just me or is Reason just recently totally turned against right leaning libertarians and hopped in bed with the left leaning libertarians, or I should rather say libertines. I’m sure another harsh look at Rand Paul’s bad stance on whatever will be along any minute now.

    1. O’Sullivans Law–“All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.”

      In the sad case of libertarianism, too many libertarians are ex-leftists, they fear being called ‘right-wing’ and so are highly susceptible to the leftward drift that undermines a philosophy that is to the right of anything the GOP could ever hope to be.

  12. OT: Well, well, well, look at this. Seems there may be something to that “fake” Benghazi scandal after all. Top CIA officer in Benghazi delayed response to terrorist attack, US security team members claim

  13. Ah, a moderate. Halfway between Obama and a liberal Northeastern RINO. What could go wrong?

    1. Yeah.
      “Independent” = not quite far enough left to claim the D ticket.

      1. The Big Problem with being an “independent” is that implies that you want to find a balance between Dem Statism and GOP anti-statism. However since GOP “anti-statism” is in fact pretty non-existent then you end up further ratcheting up Big Government.

  14. He will rule us with an iron fist and squishy words.

  15. There’s not much more for me to add other than, when you’re running against Pat Roberts, of all people, because he’s too ideological, I think I can make a pretty good guess at where you stand.

    By the way, one of the examples of leadership he cites on his website is Lisa Murkowski, again a pretty good indicator of where he’d be going.

  16. Does he believe in gay butt sex ? I’m kinda a one issue voter.

  17. http://youtu.be/cGHEHjaSYro

    The Ferguson fallout continues. Amazing the amount of news coverage it is getting.

  18. Orman Logic is thus, “allow voters to make informed decisions about candidates” by seeing what private citizens use their money to support, but don’t tell voters your own positions in advance, cause then they may not vote for you.

    From Ormans website (citizens united is one of the few things he takes a clear position on):
    “Citizens United is now the law of the land, but that doesn’t mean we should accept unlimited donations made in secret. All political spending should be subject to the same rigorous disclosure requirements made of candidates for federal office, thereby allowing voters to make informed decisions about candidates.”

    Orman is for disclosure on non-candidates spending money, but while running for the Senate refrains from disclosing his own positions. A quick glance at his website is no help. His position statements are full of phrases like, “because the dysfunction in Washington”, “come together”, and “working toward solutions instead of partisan advantage.”

  19. my best friend’s mother makes $74 hourly on the internet . She has been without work for six months but last month her payment was $20841 just working on the internet for a few hours. you could try this out…..

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  20. I’m in Kansas, so I’ve been looking at all these guys and watching the drama unfold. He may be a lesser of 2 evils vote, but probably nothing to get me motivated enough to actually go vote this cycle. His positions page is pretty pathetic – what isn’t outright bad is all weasel words and nothingness. Seems like quite the war hawk as well.

    Since the democrat backed out, the consensus is that this guy would caucus with the Democrats. So far, they won’t take Taylor’s name off the ballot though, so if that remains, Roberts is pretty much guaranteed a win.

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