National Democrats won’t be advertising on behalf of independent Kansas Senate candidate Greg Orman, who is positioned to challenge the Republican incumbent now that the Democratic nominee has stopped campaigning, but they don’t sound like they’ve categorically ruled out any kind of role in the race.
Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Tuesday his organization “would not advertise on behalf of” Orman in his race against Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), according to the Washington Post.
But he added that the DSCC would “continue to assess” the situation, seemingly leaving open the possibility of some kind of participation down the road.
“This race has a long way to develop and it’s one we’re going to continue to assess as time goes on,” Cecil said during a panel discussion in Washington, D.C.
The DSCC has thus far been almost completely silent on the race since Democratic nominee Chad Taylor attempted to withdraw from the race. (Secretary of State Kris Kobach has since declared that Taylor must remain on the ballot in November because he didn’t meet the legal requirements to withdraw, though Taylor is suing to reverse the decision). National Democrats are believed to have played some role in the move, with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) speaking to Taylor before he dropped out. But the DSCC has declined to discuss what role it had, if any.
Political experts within Kansas have speculated that Democrats would not do anything publicly — like advertising — to aid Orman in his bid to knock off Roberts because it would hurt the independent image that has positioned Orman so well to this point. But more subtle assistance, like on-the-ground mobilizing, might be on the table, they said.
“I don’t see the Democrats doing public things,” Chapman Rackaway, a political strategist at Fort Hays State University, said. “That would really run counter to his message. You’d see his numbers plummet. That’s easy opposition material for Roberts.”