Kansas Remains Competitive In New Poll

By John Celock

Kansas’ U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races remain competitive with a new Public Policy Poll showing the governor’s race tied, and three points separating the senatorial contenders.

The poll, released Monday show that in the gubernatorial race, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and Democratic nominee Paul Davis are tied at 42 percent a piece, with six percent indicating they’d vote for Libertarian nominee Keen Umbehr. In the U.S. Senate race, independent Greg Orman leads U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) 44 percent to 41 percent, with five percent indicating they’d back Libertarian Randell Batson. Republicans are shown to be leading other statewide contests in the state.

In the governor’s race, the polling continues to show Brownback gaining on Davis, who has led consistently throughout the year. PPP indicated that Umbehr’s presence is helping the incumbent by drawing from Davis’ support. Recent polling have indicated that much of Davis’ support stems from Kansas voters who oppose Brownback rather than back the Democrat.

Brownback’s gains come as the Republican and his allies stepped up their campaign efforts following the August primary and revelations that Davis was receiving a lap dance during a 1998 drug raid at a strip club in Coffeyville. Davis was the attorney for the strip club owner and was not arrested in the raid, saying he was in the “wrong place at the wrong time.”

In the U.S. Senate race, Orman jumped into the lead following last month’s withdrawal of Democratic nominee Chad Taylor. Roberts, who replaced his senior campaign team following the Taylor withdrawal, has been running on defense since, painting Orman as a Democrat and saying that he would keep Democrats in control of the Senate. Orman has not indicated which party he would caucus with in the Senate but has said that he would not vote for either Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) or Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for majority leader. He did not say which other senator he would support though.

The PPP show indicated that Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) leads his Democratic opponent, former state Sen. Jean Schodorf, 47 percent to 41 percent, in the closest down ballot race. Schodorf, a former moderate Republican who switched parties following her defeat in a 2012 GOP state Senate primary, has campaigned against Kobach’s stances on voter identification and work on immigration issues. Kobach has defended his record as the state’s chief elections officer.

The poll shows GOP insurance commissioner nominee Ken Selzer leading Democrat Dennis Anderson 48 percent to 32 percent for the right to succeed retiring Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger (R). Praeger, a moderate Republican who is close to former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D), has endorsed Anderson and Davis.

State Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) leads his Democratic opponent, A.J. Kotich, 53 percent to 27 percent, according to the poll. State Treasurer Rob Estes (R) leads former state Vehicles Director Carmen Aldritt (D) 50 percent to 30 percent.