The final debate in the U.S. Senate race in Kansas was almost two weeks ago, but incumbent Pat Roberts (R) is still having a tough time shaking off his balk at the last question given to the candidates.
Greg Orman (I) was up to answer first -- and the question (more of an instruction) was to "say something nice about your opponent."Orman definitely played it safe by complimenting Roberts on his years of service to our country, both as a politician and as an officer in the U.S. Marines. Fair enough.
Roberts seemed almost completely baffled by the question. He first commented that Orman was a snappy dresser with nice teeth -- then made a backhanded jab at his business practices.
This pretty much sums up the entire campaign. Orman has run on a simple message: Washington is broken and we need problem solvers, not partisans, to fix it. Roberts has desperately tried to associate Orman with the "far-left agenda of Harry Reid," taking almost every possible opportunity to paint Orman as a liberal under the disguise of an independent.
While Roberts has outspent Orman by over 9-1, mostly on negative campaigning, Orman has remained mostly positive and stuck to his message of a broken Washington.
So what could Roberts have said if he had been able to turn off the negative campaigning for 30 seconds?
A Long Interest in the Political Process
Greg Orman's interest in the political process stretches clear back to his high school involvement in Boys Nation, an annual, nationwide civic program sponsored by the American Legion.
In 1986, Orman was selected as the national Boys Nation President and was able to meet Ronald Reagan, one of his childhood heroes.
Orman has worked on several presidential election campaigns and ran for U.S. Senate in 2008 in Kansas.
Job CreationAs a successful businessman, Orman has experience in job creation and has struggled with the hardships of entrepreneurship.
His current business venture, a private-equity firm, has brought desperately needed capital to small and medium-sized firms that would have otherwise closed.
A Willingness to Explore IdeasDuring the first debate, Orman stated, ""
Orman has been a registered Democrat and Republican, but since 2010 has been unaffiliated with either party.
While many of Roberts' attack ads have depicted Orman as a liberal with a new-found sense of "independence," Orman has a history of supporting independent campaigns.
While in college, Orman worked for George H.W. Bush's campaign, yet 4 years later supported Ross Perot's independent bid for the White House.
An Honorable Campaign
While it is unlikely that Roberts would have complimented Orman on his campaign strategies, it's amazing to think that an outspent underdog might overcome his opponent's negative advertising and win one of the nation's hottest races.Greg Orman has largely ignored the attack ads launched against him. Other than pointing out Roberts' absences from committee meetings, Orman has run a pretty clean campaign.
Orman's own early research indicated that Kansans were more interested in a candidate who would solve problems and bridge gaps than a party label. Political backstabbing wasn't going to win this election, according to his research.
Orman has stuck to this message and I personally think it will ring true to the voters on Tuesday.
I'm grateful for the opportunity to have reported on Orman's campaign on IVN since June. Watching each twist and turn has been exciting in my home state, where political campaigns rarely get any national attention.
Running a clean campaign has proven Orman's independence from partisan politics, not just a business as usual campaign. On Tuesday, I am proud to say that I will support Greg Orman as Kansas' true independent option for the U.S. Senate.
Image: U.S. Senator Pat Roberts / Source: AP