Kansas Sen. Roberts debates independent foe again - KCTV5

Kansas Sen. Roberts debates independent foe again

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Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts hopes to use a debate to dampen some of the voter fervor for independent challenger Greg Orman, whose strong candidacy is threatening to end Roberts' 34-year congressional career. (Associated Press) Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts hopes to use a debate to dampen some of the voter fervor for independent challenger Greg Orman, whose strong candidacy is threatening to end Roberts' 34-year congressional career. (Associated Press)
OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV/AP) -

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts hopes to use a debate to dampen some of the voter fervor for independent challenger Greg Orman, whose strong candidacy is threatening to end Roberts' 34-year congressional career.

The two squared off Wednesday in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park. It was their second joint appearance since Democrat Chad Taylor withdrew from the race, leaving Orman as Roberts' clear main rival.

Roberts repeatedly attacked Orman's integrity and political affiliations in Wednesday's debate, trying to make up lost ground in an historic race.

Roberts used nearly every question to stress that his reelection would give republicans a majority in the senate and to draw connections between Orman and Harry Reid, the U.S. Senate Majority Leader.

“A vote for Greg Orman” Roberts said, “is a vote to hand over the future of Kansas to the Barack Obama and Harry Reid agenda.”

Roberts mentioned Reid more than a dozen times in the course of the debate, pegging his opponent as a liberal disguised as an independent candidate, even saying Orman lacks integrity.

Orman responded by emphasizing what he called a need to change the status quo in Washington and indicated that his election would be a way to combat the two party system.

“We're sending the worst of both parties to Washington,” he said. “Bitter partisans who care more about pleasing the extremists and special interests in their own parties than they do about solving problems.”

Topics ranged from the economy to environmental issues and immigration reform. Roberts emphasized his endorsements, his stances on government deregulation and his pushes against the Affordable Care Act.

“I will be the pro jobs, pro-growth candidate,” he pledged. “Not only the candidate. I will get things done.”

Orman, meanwhile, spoke of moderation, a need to streamline government regulations and tax codes and the importance of investing in new energy technologies and Kansas infrastructure.

“I think the voters of Kansas are intelligent, sophisticated and forward thinking,” he said, following the debate. “I think they're going to vote in this election based on who they think will do the best job for Kansas.”

But Roberts believes Kansans will continue to vote for a conservative. In an interview after the event he reiterated that his election would give the GOP control of the Senate.

“The road to a republican majority leads right through Kansas,” he said. “A vote for Pat Roberts is a vote for the republicans to take over the majority and we end the gridlock. We end the gridlock.”

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

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