Republican Sen. Pat Roberts defeated independent challenger Greg Orman in the Kansas Senate race Tuesday, after weeks of polling showed a statistical dead heat. Republicans had been progressively worried about losing the seat after polls continuously showed a very close race.

The three-term incumbent was in grave danger of losing his seat after the Democrats withdrew their candidate, Chad Taylor, in an effort to help elect Orman, who said he would caucus with whichever party held the Senate majority. Republicans have long suspected Orman, an entrepreneur-turned-politician, would join the Democrats if elected. Vice President Joe Biden seemed to confirm this belief in a radio interview Tuesday, saying, “We have a chance of picking up an independent who will be with us in the state of Kansas.” 


Orman may have lost support after a kerfuffle where he sent a 256-word email to former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, a Kansan, last Friday, denying he referred to Roberts as a “clown” last week.

Roberts held onto his seat by capturing the much-needed Tea Party endorsement in the blood-red state. “The folks have fire in the belly, you know,” Roberts said. “If you are going to lead the posse, and look back, you’d better have the tea party with you.” Roberts won his last Senate race comfortably with 60 percent of the vote against Democrat Jim Slattery’s 36 percent. Roberts, who was first elected in 1996, previously served as the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and was responsible for an investigation into the intelligence failures prior to the 2003 Iraq invasion.