Sen. Pat Roberts began his final push for re-election Monday with some nationally known help.
Former Republican presidential candidates Bob Dole and Mitt Romney urged several hundred people at an Overland Park rally to support Roberts, who is locked in a close race with independent Greg Orman for his U.S. Senate seat from Kansas.
Romney sharply criticized President Barack Obama. “This president hasn’t done the job he said he would do,” said Romney, who lost to Obama in 2012.
The former Massachusetts governor may be considering a third campaign for the White House, and he did little Monday to dampen that speculation. Dole, who lost to Bill Clinton in 1996, referred to Romney as “the man who should have been president,” which brought cheers and applause.
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Reading from prepared remarks, Roberts said Kansans would soon determine whether Republicans control the Senate. “And Kansas will deliver,” he said.
He joined in the criticism of Obama and the president’s Democratic allies in the Senate, calling their work together “un-American.”
Polls show Roberts in a virtual tie with Orman. On Monday, Orman toured a skilled-care retirement community in Olathe.
“Pat Roberts is part of that Washington culture,” Orman told reporters when asked about the Romney appearance. “He’s got all his buddies coming in from Washington to try and save his seat.”
Monday’s GOP rally was designed to boost more than one candidate. A third former presidential hopeful — Gov. Sam Brownback, also fighting for his political life — urged Republicans to the polls.
“Walk and talk and push and vote,” he said.
The rally had some lighter moments. The candidates sported Kansas City Royals caps, jackets and jerseys, and expressed confidence the team would prevail in the final two games of the World Series.