By John Celock
National conservative leaders are continuing to promote U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) in Kansas’ competitive U.S. Senate race.
Following a rally and bus tour for Roberts Thursday. U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) sat down with a tea party radio show host to explain why Roberts needed to be reelected. The interviews aired Friday morning on the “Joseph Ashby Show” on KQAM in Wichita. Roberts is locked in a competitive battle with independent Greg Orman.
“I understand there are a lot of folks in Kansas and around the country who are frustrated,” Cruz told Ashby. “The answer to that frustration is not to elect a candidate who will vote with liberal Democrats and keep Harry Reid as majority leader. Harry Reid as majority leader is a disaster.”
Cruz was repeating a common theme of Roberts in the race that Orman could deliver the Senate majority to Democrats. Orman has not said which party he would caucus with in the Senate and during a debate earlier this week said that he would not vote for either Reid or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for the majority leader’s post. On Thursday, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Reince Priebus announced that it would be “impossible” for Orman to caucus with Senate Republicans, citing Orman’s past donations to Democrats including Reid, President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Orman has promoted his past donations to Republicans, including former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).
Cruz, a Tea Party favorite, stressed Roberts’ support for his causes in the Senate, including speaking out in favor of his filibuster to oppose Obamacare last year. He also said that Roberts has “fought side by side with me” on Second Amendment and immigration issues.
“Pat was virtually unique,” Cruz said. “Very few folks that have the tenure he has were willing to stand with me.”
The appearance by Cruz comes as Roberts tries to reunite Republicans, particularly the tea party behind his candidacy, following a bruising GOP primary battle against tea party favorite Milton Wolf. Roberts this week announced that he’ll be backed by the Tea Party Express and has been stressing his support for tea party issues.
Cruz and Coburn are the latest in a series of Republican leaders who have come to Kansas to support Roberts. Others have included former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.), U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The race between Roberts and Orman has become more competitive since Democrat Chad Taylor dropped out last month. On Thursday, Politico reported that Orman may receive backing from Democratic activist Jonathan Soros and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Coburn focused his attention on battling Reid and saying that Roberts needs to be reelected in order to oust Reid from the majority leader’s chair.
“This election in Kansas is about whether we continue down the path to destroy the Senate and lose our freedoms,” Coburn said.