After Democratic nominee Chad Taylor withdrew from the Kansas Senate race on Sept. 3, things looked pretty grim for Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS). At his worst moment, in late September, he trailed independent candidate Greg Orman by more than 7 points on average. It looked like it would take a miracle for Roberts to avoid falling victim to the most surprising upset in 2014.
It took some work -- national Republicans cleaned out the Roberts campaign and started over with their own people -- and some time for outside money to come to his aid. But with less than two weeks to go, Roberts has climbed back into the race and holds a narrow 0.5-point edge, according to TPM's PollTracker average.
He's done it by playing hard to the conservative base that nearly ousted him in the Republican primary this summer and relentlessly pounding Orman as a closet liberal who would boost Obama's agenda. But therein lies a risk. Roberts has rebounded by going hard right -- but he has to hold onto some moderates to counter Orman's appeal to the middle and his nearly universal support among Democrats.
It's a narrow path to victory, everybody watching the race agrees. But it's a much more realistic one than anyone would have thought a month ago.
Read More →