By John Celock
A new poll shows the Democratic nominee for Kansas governor with a five-point lead, following a series of polls showing the Republican leading in the competitive race.
A Monmouth University Poll released Monday shows Democrat Paul Davis leading Gov. Sam Brownback (R) 50 percent to 45 percent. The polls follows a series of polls that have had Brownback either tied with or leading Davis. The race has been competitive all year. The same poll shows U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) tied at 46 percent with independent challenger Greg Orman in the competitive race.
Brownback has been gaining on Davis since the incumbent ramped up his campaign following the August primary and revelations emerged last month that Davis was receiving a lap dance during a 1998 drug raid at a strip club. Davis, who was an attorney for the strip club’s owner, was not arrested in the raid and said he was in the “wrong place at the wrong time.” Brownback has also been campaigning alongside a series of top Republicans, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who joined Brownback Monday for his third trip to the Sunflower State. Christie is the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, which has invested in the race on behalf of Brownback.
Davis and his supporters have centered their campaign on opposition to Brownback’s tax cuts and education policies. They have claimed that the incumbent’s tax cuts have hurt the state economy and that the Republican has cut education spending. Brownback and his supporters have said that the tax cuts have stimulated the state’s economy and that he has boosted education funding. The Topeka Capitol-Journal reported over the weekend that figures from the nonpartisan Kansas Legislative Research Department show a boost in education spending from the spending under former Govs. Kathleen Sebelius (D) and Mark Parkinson (D) in 2009-2010.
The Senate race has remained competitive since Democrat Chad Taylor dropped out last month amid the Orman surge. A venture capitalist from suburban Johnson County, Orman has not indicated which party he will caucus with in the Senate, but has said he would not vote for either Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) or Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for majority leader.
Roberts has criticized Orman in the campaign as a Democrat, saying that Orman would be another vote for Reid and President Barack Obama in the Senate.
The poll showed deep disapproval for Obama in the state with 37 percent favoring the president’s job performance and 59 disapproving of the president. Obama is the son and grandson of Kansas natives.