Unity, kinda: Wolf endorses Roberts in Kansas

Better (almost) late than never, and with just five days to go, this endorsement from Milton Wolf couldn’t come at a better time for Pat Roberts. The RCP average of six polls in Kansas has the Republican down by less than a point, and even the YouGov poll that has him up four only showed the Republican incumbent at 42%. Roberts, who barely survived a primary challenge from the Tea Party favorite Wolf, needs a shot of credibility and enthusiasm that will resonate with the conservative grassroots — and the doctor may have provided that transfusion:

In this election, you have fought valiantly and honorably for our republic. While so many politicians descend into personal attacks, you instead joined a campaign committed against all odds to offering bold, positive solutions to America’s greatest challenges. Be proud of your efforts and now brace yourself for a greater challenge still.

America desperately needs solid constitutional conservatives in the United States Senate who will stand by the courage of their conviction, who will fearlessly stand up to Barack Obama and Harry Reid, who will offer positive solutions to America’s challenges and who can effectively communicate their ideas against a veritable storm of opposition in Washington. Whatever your opinion of Pat Roberts, his re-election to the United States Senate may be the deciding factor that dethrones Harry Reid and elevates solid constitutional conservatives like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul into positions of influence to save America from Barack Obama and so I urge you, I urge all Kansans, to set aside our differences and vote Republican in this critical Senate race on November 4th.

All right, so it’s not exactly a transfusion of enthusiasm. “Brace yourself” rarely precedes a happy surprise in conversation, especially when linked with “a greater challenge still.” Wolf is making it pretty clear that this is a hold-your-nose, this-medicine-is-for-your-own-good direction to his surprisingly large support base. And he’s absolutely right — losing Kansas would complicate the effort to push Harry Reid into the Minority Leader position, and needlessly so for Kansas conservatives. Orman is definitely not an improvement over the status quo no matter what one thinks of Roberts in relation to Wolf or Tea Party objectives.

In exchange for their support for Roberts, Wolf pledges to stay on Roberts’ back, and signals that all is most definitely not forgiven:

Be assured that if Pat Roberts is to be re-elected, I will do everything in my power to hold his feet to the fire. And be assured that the fullness of the duplicity, dishonesty and abuse of power that has marked this election will be exposed. I have refused to be intimidated by their threats or seduced by their bribes and I won’t start now. We have far more resources at our disposal today than when we began this movement and I am more energized than ever to see to it that Kansans have alternatives to failed leadership. I’m committed to reestablishing the Kansas GOP as the party of Reagan, the party of freedom and prosperity. And I’m determined to unleash an era where we secure the blessings of liberty so that all Kansans and all Americans can achieve their own American Dream[.]

This reminds me a little of the old Buddy Roemer line: “Elect the crook — it’s important.” It’s not quite that bad (on either side of the equation, actually), but Wolf wants to make sure that the GOP holds the seat. It sure isn’t a full-throated endorsement of Roberts; it’s an indictment of Orman, who’s supposedly an independent in the race. For an independent, though, Orman’s getting an awful lot of help from Democratic operatives:

Kansas millionaire Greg Orman is relying on Democratic campaign firms to guide his independent run for the U.S. Senate.

Orman has given nearly $25,000 to Hamilton Campaigns for polling work throughout the cycle, according to his campaign filings. The FEC reports indicate that Orman, a multi-millionaire businessman, personally paid $22,625 for Hamilton’s polling work before getting reimbursed by the campaign.

The Washington D.C.-based firm has worked almost exclusively for Democrats, including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, DNC Chief Debbie Wasserman Shultz, Democratic Governor’s Association, and a host of individual Democratic candidates.

It also works for the nation’s most powerful abortion lobbyists, including Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List, a PAC dedicated to electing pro-abortion politicians. Emily’s List is the third highest 527 spender in the 2014 cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Hamilton also represents some of the largest unions in the country, including the SEIU and the AFL-CIO.

That is why one major pro-life organization has hit the ground for Roberts in Kansas. The Susan B. Anthony List PAC has been knocking on doors in an attempt to blunt the impact of Hamilton and to expose Orman’s support for abortion, on which the “independent” has been cagey thus far. Hiring the campaign partners for Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List exposes the true nature of Orman’s politics, and underscores Wolf’s point about the need for conservatives to turn out for Roberts even after the bare-knuckled brawl in the primary.

Roberts won’t run again for the Senate anyway — this is almost certainly his last campaign in Kansas. Wolf can put himself in a position where the state GOP owes him by delivering a late boost in support that keeps the seat in Republican hands, an option that has existed for Wolf ever since his surprisingly close loss in the primary. The bad blood contributed to the long delay in endorsing Roberts, but the timing may be good enough to make a difference and close enough that it doesn’t give Democrats enough time in attacking it effectively.  “Brace yourself” might be words Orman will be hearing if Wolf’s endorsement has the desired impact.

Update: Don’t forget that it was just a month ago that speculation began to swirl that Wolf would back Orman — which Wolf quickly squelched. Also, I added a clause in the first paragraph as a reminder of Wolf being the primary challenger, for commenters with short memories.