Independent Greg Orman was the Democratic darling in 2014. That year he challenged Republican Pat Roberts for his senate seat so vigorously that he drove the Democratic contender out of the race and led many pundits to predict his victory.
That was 2014. This is 2018. Now running as an independent in the race for governor, Orman has become the second most hated man in the bluer parts of Kansas behind only Republican candidate Kris Kobach.
“Let’s say he picks up 15, 16 percent, and Kobach wins with less than 45 percent,” Chris Reeves, a Democratic National Committee representative, told John Hanna of the Associated Press. “Greg Orman better be prepared to be run out of town on a rail.”
According to Hanna, Democrats are “horrified” by the thought that Kobach, whom he describes as “provocative,” might become governor. This horror inspired a key Democratic official to file a formal objection challenging the validity of the petitions signed by registered voters that put Orman on the ballot. Orman’s campaign called the challenge “frivolous.”
A state board will consider the challenge today, Thursday. Hanna predicts a lawsuit whichever way the board decides. The irony, of course, is that the Democratic horror at a Kobach candidacy is based in no small part on his alleged willingness to suppress the votes of Kansas citizens. Rejecting the will of the thousands of Kansans who signed a petition supporting the Orman candidacy will not convince anyone of the Democrats’ sincerity.
In many ways Orman, a Princeton grad and the founder of a private equity fund, is more appealing than the 68-year-old Democratic candidate, Laura Kelly. He is also willing to invest much more of his own money in the campaign. In July alone, he spent $650,000.
The Democrats who were openly “gleeful” about the deadlocked Republican race now find themselves in a lose-lose position no matter which decision the board makes about the Greg Orman candidacy.