The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

Chad Taylor giddy over poll showing him closing in on Pat Roberts

08/11/2014 9:00 PM

08/12/2014 7:04 AM

Here we go...

“This election is tightening because the people of Kansas recognize that they finally have a moderate alternative in this race.” — Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Chad Taylor on a new poll showing him within 4 points of GOP incumbent Pat Roberts.

Taylor is right on one level: Democrats are never this close to Republicans in Senate races. This is truly unusual. But let’s also get something straight here: Kansans know next to nothing about Taylor, the Shanwee County prosecutor. These poll numbers are purely a referendum on Roberts, who just go through a tough primary against Milton Wolf. If patterns hold, Roberts will soon be up on TV trying to define Taylor, who has absolutely no money for media himself. A penniless campaign won’t cut it in 2014.

“They believe, as I do, that the time is right for sweeping change and that the partisan extremists in Washington are on the wrong side of the coming electoral revolution.” — independent Senate candidate Greg Orman on Monday outlining a congressional reform plan.

Ahhhh, Greg Orman. He’s the independent in the Kansas Senate race whose presence on the ballot appears to split the anti-Roberts vote. Orman’s reform plan includes term limits for members of Congress, the end of congressional pensions and banning lobbying by former members of Congress. His plan will be a focus of his eight-day, 18-stop tour around the state aimed at introducing himself to voters who know nothing about him either.

“The straight-forward conclusion is that this enthusiasm gap will play out at the voting booths in November, resulting in widespread GOP gains, led by a takeover of the U.S. Senate. But what if the enthusiasm gap is meaningless?” — GOP pollster Neil Newhouse on his Public Opinion Strategies website.

Newhouse points out that Republicans were more fired up in 2012, and look what happened to Mitt Romney. Democrats through their solid get-out-the-vote operation managed to turn out even unenthusiastic voters.

“Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.” — Hillary Clinton referring to President Obama’s remark to describe his reluctance to inject the United States into complicated foreign conflicts.

Clinton’s surprisingly blunt comments to the Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg have shattered the sense of unity that existed between Clinton and the president since she stepped down as secretary of state. Clinton clearly is seeking to differentiate herself from a man she’s been closely linked to since their dramatic 2008 dual for the Democratic nomination. “One issue is that we don’t even tell our own story very well these days,” she also said drawing yet another difference.

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