Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kans.) is in the fight for his political life. Current polls show him barely trailing his opponent, which would make Kansas look like a golden pickup opportunity for Senate Democrats, right?
Not so much. In early September, Democrat Chad Taylor suddenly dropped out of the crowded Kansas Senate, leaving a two-man race between Roberts and Greg Orman, who insists that he’s totally an independent and not a partisan Democrat. Orman even swears that he has no idea who he’ll support for Senate Majority Leader if he wins the election next Tuesday. That’s how independent he is.
But if Orman is really an independent and not a partisan Democrat masquerading as an unaffiliated moderate, then why are so many of his campaign staff and vendors partisan Democrats?
Take Hamilton Campaigns, for example. In its final report to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) before the general election, the Orman campaign listed several payments to the D.C.-based political consulting firm. In total, Orman’s campaign paid the firm nearly $27,000 for consulting services.
How does Hamilton Campaigns describe its work? The consultancy certainly doesn’t trumpet its political independence:
Hamilton Campaigns is a partisan consulting firm with four decades of experience in providing cutting edge decision-making services to Democratic campaigns and progressive organizations.
Why would an independent hire a “partisan consulting firm” with 40 years of experience providing services to “Democratic campaigns”? The mind boggles.
Then there’s the $6,000 that Orman’s campaign paid to Katz Watson Group, also based in Washington, D.C., for fundraising services.
What does the Katz Watson Group’s client list look like? It certainly doesn’t look very independent. Here are a few of its current and former clients:
Democratic Association of Secretaries of State
Democratic Attorneys’ General Association
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Democratic Leadership Council
Democratic Municipal Officials
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, huh? Weird. That doesn’t sound like a very independent, non-partisan group to me. Why would an independent with no partisan leanings hire a firm that’s done work for the top campaign committee for Senate Democrats?
But it doesn’t stop there. One of Orman’s top GOTV workers also has long, partisan ties to the Democratic party. James Ryan received $2,500 from the Orman campaign for “Field Consulting” services. According to his LinkedIn page, Ryan previously served as field director for the Kansas Democratic Party, a field director for the Iowa Democratic Party, and as the campaign manager for a Democratic candidate for a district attorney position in Kansas. He seems to have a lot of GOTV experience, but all of it appears to be on behalf of Democrats, not independents. Hmm.
And then there’s Veracity Media LLC, which received over $10,000 from the Orman campaign for social media consulting services.
According to its website, Veracity Media created the website for Hillary Clinton’s book “Hard Choices,” currently runs digital campaign services for Sandra Fluke’s state Senate campaign in California, and designed the website for the campaign of Jason Kander, Missouri’s Democratic Secretary of State.
Maybe Greg Orman really is super independent, without a partisan bone in his body. Maybe. But it’s quite odd to see such a strident independent hand the reins of his campaign over to so many partisan Democrats.