The Topeka Capital-Journal is really excited about Greg Orman’s candidacy for Kansas Governor. The paper ran two extensive stories and a glowing editorial about Orman’s formal announcement that he will seek the Governor’s office. He is running as an independent.
The first story even-handedly informs readers that Orman is running. The second story posted at about the same time as the first article, comes complete with soft photos of Orman with his family. Compare that to the photos the paper runs of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach or the photos the paper runs of Gov. Sam Brownback. The paper isn’t trotting out the soft lighting and filters for those two.
“At the end of the day, me being politically independent is not about ideology. It’s about putting my state and my country ahead of a political party. It’s about using facts and common sense to solve problems, and not just clinging to rigid ideological solutions, even when they’re not working. And, importantly, it’s about being free from obligations to party bosses and special interests,” Orman tells the Cap-J’s Tim Carpenter.
Orman launched a failed campaign as an independent for the U.S Senate in 2014. Despite the Democratic candidate dropping out of the race, Orman lost by double-digits in a head-to-head race with incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts.
For his gubernatorial race, the Cap-J reports that Orman has sworn off donations from political action committees and lobbying organizations. When he campaigned for Senate in 2014, the son of billionaire Democratic fundraiser George Soros hosted a fundraiser for the Olathe businessman. This cycle, the Topeka daily also reports that Orman raised more money from in-state contributors than all of the Democratic candidates for Governor and all but two Republicans.
“The Republican and Democratic parties in Kansas have been looking over their shoulders and speculating about Orman’s intentions,” the story reads.
While that may be true of the Democratic Party, which released a statement about Orman’s candidacy, the Kansas Republican Party has been largely silent on his recent announcement.
“It is unfortunate that Greg Orman is putting his own political ambition before the best interests of Kansas,” a statement from the KDP reads. “…Democrats in Kansas may have ‘stood down’ for him to run as an independent for Senate in 2014, but we will not stand down in 2018…It’s clear he’s just another opportunistic and overly ambitious millionaire trying to buy a seat.”
The Journal gives the independent candidate ample opportunity to describe why 2018 is different than 2014. Orman tells the paper fans of a two-party system hold antiquated theories about independent thinkers.
Tellingly, the paper reports that as an independent, Orman will be free to “champion the most progressive ideas.”
Throughout the story, Orman explains how being an independent candidate gives him opportunities to do things differently, but he’s never asked to clearly explain his own viewpoints.
There are more than a dozen candidates vying for the state’s top executive role in 2018. The Democratic and Republican fields will be narrowed to one nominee from each party in August. Most pundits agree Orman’s candidacy gives the edge to the Republican nominee in the general election.
Washburn University political science professor Bob Beatty and University of Kansas political science professor Patrick Miller both said as much to the Kansas City Star.
“Right now it’s not good for the Democrats,” Beatty said.
Miller said Orman’s support likely comes from the Democratic-aligned voters.
“He and a Democrat probably can’t split that piece of a pie and be successful,” Miller said.
The beliefs of political scientists aside, that’s not stopping the Cap-J from giving Orman campaign coverage most Democratic and Republican couldn’t buy with truckloads of cash.