Whether they'll admit it or not, Democrats have put all their eggs in Greg Orman's basket. The Kansas independent was polling so well against incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts that the Democratic nominee, Chad Taylor, was pressured to drop out of the race, and the state Democratic party has expressed no interest in filling his slot unless forced to do so by a court.
Democrats are making a bet. Orman has been publicly insistent that he hasn't decided which party to caucus with yet, though Republicans have repeatedly pointed out that he toyed with a 2008 Senate run as a Democrat. "Both Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have been too partisan for far too long to earn my vote for Majority Leader," he says on his website. If no party holds a clear majority and he and the other independents (currently Sens. Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont) dictate control of the Senate, Orman says that he will "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."
And what exactly are Democrats getting in Orman? A review of his policy statements and known history reveals an interesting mix. His background -- an investor with up to $86 million in private wealth and links to a jailed Wall Street figure -- seems superficially at odds with the message Democrats have been delivering since the economic collapse. But on policy, while Orman is always careful to straddle partisan lines, he seems to come down closer to the Democratic side than the Republican on high-profile issues like health care, guns and immigration.
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