Pat Roberts

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts says the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is crucial for farmers wanting access to new and growing markets. But in the midst of the presidential campaign the deal faces an uphill battle.

Speaking on a panel at the Kansas State Fair Saturday, Roberts, who is the Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman, distinguished the TPP from other trade deals. He says the agriculture industry stands to benefit too much for it to be allowed to fail.

While Kansas had other high profile campaigns in 2014, the race for U.S. Senate in Kansas was so unusual that it attracted a lot of attention. Political staffers and experts weighed in Thursday on that and the governor’s race as part of a panel by the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Following the strong Republican wins in Kansas elections this week, some people are trying to determine what drove the wave of victories for Republicans. Sen. Pat Roberts and Gov. Sam Brownback both won their races, but many polls before the election showed them neck-and-neck with their challengers or losing.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Incumbent Pat Roberts held on to his U.S. Senate seat Tuesday after besting Independent Greg Orman.

It was a surprisingly easy win for Roberts after a bruising battle to keep a place in Washington he's had for three decades.

Roberts made his victory speech at the Republican watch party in Topeka.

"We said for months the road to a Republican majority in the United States Senate lead through Kansas and we did it," said Roberts.

With all precincts reporting, Roberts beat Orman 53 percent to 43 percent.

Pat Roberts campaign.

Kansas State University is being drawn into the Senate campaign for Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, despite protests from the university.   

Longtime K-State Football coach Bill Snyder seems to endorse Roberts in a new campaign ad. 

The problem? Political endorsements aren't allowed by university policy.

There’s a chill in the air, and a forbidding wind is rustling through the trees. But which is scarier—the ghouls and ghosts of Halloween or the campaigning for the midterm election?

On Friday's Up to Date, the Political Pundits return to talk about the issues surrounding the close races in Kansas for secretary of state, governor and especially for the U.S. Senate, where a leadership change is a real possibility.

Plus, we have a look at the buzz surrounding the Missouri governor’s race of 2016. 

There have been reports that President Obama may take steps to try to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. It houses people detained in connection to the U.S. war on terrorism.

Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is opposing any plan that would bring detainees on U.S. soil. During a stop in Topeka, he said he'll take to the floor of the Senate and filibuster any efforts to close Guantanamo Bay. 

"And if he tries it, I will shut down the Senate," said Roberts.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The Orman for Senate campaign headquarters is in a Shawnee, Kan., strip mall, next door to a Taekwondo studio and a few doors down from a Papa John’s pizza joint.

Among the posters, bumper stickers and general flotsam of a fall campaign, a college yearbook sits on a small table.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Former state Sen. Audrey Langworthy received the fundraising letter from Republican incumbent Pat Roberts last November.

Among other things, Roberts called for the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius, then Health and Human Services Secretary, who was under fire for the botched roll-out of the Obamacare website.

Langworthy, a Republican who lives in Prairie Village, was so angry she started writing notes to Roberts, hand-written in black ink directly onto his letter.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The two candidates vying for the U.S. Senate seat from Kansas spent Wednesday trading partisan barbs at their second debate.

Republican incumbent Pat Roberts tried to paint Greg Orman, who is running as an independent, as a Democrat in a race that doesn’t have one.

“A vote for Greg Orman is a vote to hand over the future of Kansas and the country to Harry Reid and Barack Obama,” Roberts told the crowd at the Overland Park Convention Center.

Roberts called Orman a liberal more than a dozen times and repeatedly hammered him for his ties to Democrats.

Democrats aren't fielding a candidate for a U.S. Senate race in Kansas after Democrat Chad Taylor dropped out, but with no one in that race, it's not clear what role, if any, the state Democratic Party will take in the campaign.

There's no love lost between Republican Sen. Pat Roberts and the leaders in the Kansas Democratic party. But that doesn't mean top-ranking Democrats are throwing their support behind independent candidate Greg Orman.

Roberts for Senate

Immigration is emerging as one of the murkier issues in the intensifying race for the U.S. Senate in Kansas. 

The incumbent, Republican Pat Roberts, released a new ad this week targeting his challenger, Independent Greg Orman.

Amid dramatic music and images of people jumping a fence, the ad's female narrator says a “border crisis” and “illegal immigration” are “taking jobs away from Kansans who need them.”

A dispute over the ballot for a U.S. Senate race in Kansas is creating a time crunch for election officials. At issue is whether Democrats will be required to place a new candidate on the ballot for the Senate seat after Chad Taylor dropped out of the race.

A Shawnee County Court is expected to issue a decision this week. Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew says that normally by this time of year, ballots for people voting early would be printed and prepared for mailing.

The Kansas Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday on whether Democrat Chad Taylor should be removed from the ballot for a U.S. Senate seat.

Taylor dropped out of the Senate race recently and he's trying to get his name removed. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says Taylor's name should stay on the ballot. University of Kansas Political Science Professor Burdett Loomis calls the situation "extraordinarily unusual." He can't remember a legal battle with a high-profile candidate trying to be removed from the ballot in Kansas.

TaylorForSenate.com

Democrat Chad Taylor's name will stay on the ballot for the U.S. Senate from Kansas, despite his withdrawal from the race earlier this week.

Republicans, in the odd predicament of fighting to keep a Democrat on the November ballot on Thursday, won a legal challenge decided by Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Kobach sided with his fellow Republicans, who argued that state law requires that anyone trying to withdraw from the ballot must state the reason why he or she couldn’t serve.

Wikimedia Commons -- CC

A Wednesday shake-up in Kansas politics even has seasoned pundits amazed. 

Chad Taylor, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate, has withdrawn from the race, leaving Kansas Republican Pat Roberts facing his toughest political test in decades.

Steve Kraske, host of Up To Date on KCUR and Kansas City Star political commentator, says the change spells bad news for the incumbent.

"Pat Roberts is suddenly in very deep trouble in Kansas," Kraske says. "His polling numbers have not been good. He was ahead only because he was in a three-way contest."

Poll: Pat Roberts Leads Challenger By Four Points

Aug 12, 2014

A new Rasmussen poll released Monday shows three-term Kansas Senator Pat Roberts is only four points ahead of his Democratic rival.

Roberts beat challenger Milton Wolf by seven points in the Republican primary, and the new poll of 750 voters shows Roberts leading Democratic challenger Chad Taylor 44 percent to 40.

Wikimedia Commons

A new poll shows Gov. Sam Brownback trailing opposing Democrat Paul Davis, who’s showing support from independents and Republicans that many didn’t expect.

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, we talk about that race, how Sen. Pat Roberts is faring against the competition and what former Missouri Congressman Todd Akin is saying this week.

Guests:

A state panel has rejected an effort to block Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts from running for re-election.

The State Objections Board ruled 3-0 against a group of Kansans arguing that Roberts doesn't really live in the state. The decision sets the stage for Roberts to face challenger Milton Wolf in the August Republican primary.

Chuck Henderson, a Milton Wolf supporter from Manhattan, filed one of the objections. He believes Roberts shouldn't be eligible to run again because he actually lives in a home in Virginia.

A state panel will meet Monday to decide if Republican Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts is eligible to appear on the primary election ballot.

Four Kansans have filed claims challenging his candidacy by saying he may not meet the residency requirement. 

The State Objections Board, made up of the Kansas secretary of state, lieutenant governor and state attorney general, makes decisions in these situations. All three of them have endorsed Roberts.

Frank Morris / KCUR-FM

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts campaigned with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at a campaign event Friday in Overland Park, Kan. Roberts faces a serious primary challenge.

The event was a show of force, and conservative political clout.  Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer was there, along with Mary Kay Culp, the executive director of Kansans for Life, and Patricia Stoneking, president of the Kansas State Rifle Association.     

Frank Morris / KCUR

A Leawood physician who is a distant cousin of President Barack Obama is challenging Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts in the Republican primary. Milton Wolf is taking on the incumbent with strong support from Tea Party conservatives.   

Wolf’s first campaign event filled a large ballroom in south Overland Park, Kan. Tuesday evening. It featured live performers and a slick biographical video.   

Bryan Thompson / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts say funding for a federal lab to be built in Manhattan has passed an important hurdle.

The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, will study diseases that could be used to attack the nation's food supply. A Senate subcommittee voted earlier this week to approve more than $400 million for the lab.

Moran says that a full Senate committee has now also voted to approve the funding.

“It is a determining factor in NBAF’s future,” says Moran.

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts has introduced a bill to reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.  Roberts says the bill would save $36-billion over ten years by eliminating waste, and closing loopholes in the program.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The Department of Homeland Security officially took ownership of 46 acres in Manhattan, Kansas this week for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.

The first meeting of a steering committee appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback last summer is taking place this morning in Topeka.

A committee of the National Research Council visited Kansas State University Friday to get a feel for safety concerns for a giant biosafety lab planned for the Manhattan, Kan., campus.

Eric Durban / Harvest Public Media

It’s been three years since the Department of Homeland Security chose Kansas as the site of its National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, but there’s a growing sense that the project has a precarious future.

Sen. Pat Roberts, the former Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and member of the Agriculture Committee, says biosecurity is a national concern and that Kansas is a natural place to put it front and center.

The proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, as it's known in Washington, will replace the aging lab on Plum Island, near New York. That lab has been the premier biosecurity facility to date.