For the second time in a week, a highly regarded political observer has rated the Kansas Senate race as slipping away from Republicans. On Thursday, Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia Center for Politics moved the race from “Leans Republican” to “Toss Up” on his Crystal Ball website.
Kansas was considered a safe seat for Republican incumbent Pat Roberts until now-former Democratic candidate Chad Taylor decided to drop out last month, prompting his supporters to rally behind independent candidate Greg Orman. In the first poll since the Kansas supreme court ruled Taylor could be removed from the ballot released on Wednesday, Orman led Roberts by five percentage points.
“These recent developments have caused us to shift the Kansas contest from Leans Republican to Toss-up, with ramifications for the GOP’s path to a majority,” Sabato wrote on his Crystal Ball website. While Sabato thinks Republicans’ chances of winning the Senate are improving thanks to other races, Orman’s rise and Roberts’s vulnerability complicate things.
Kansas is currently the only Republican-held seat Sabato rates as a “Toss Up.”
Earlier this week, the Cook Political Report placed Kansas in its “Toss Up” category.