|Senator Pat Roberts and opponent Greg Orman at a debate this weekend.|
For years, marijuana advocates have warned folks from Colorado to think twice before taking cannabis over the state line to Kansas, which has some of the toughest weed-related penalties in the country and has been repeatedly accused of pot profiling. So it’s something of a surprise to discover that the two candidates in a suddenly competitive Kansas senatorial race — incumbent Pat Roberts and independent upstart Greg Orman — both have problems with federal marijuana policies.
After surviving a primary challenge from a Tea Party candidate, Roberts (no relation) seemed destined to cruise to reelection owing to Kansas’ ultra-conservative electorate. But then came a surprise. Democratic challenger Chad Taylor dropped out of what had been a three-way race between him, Roberts and Orman — and polling suggested that Orman actually has a chance to beat Roberts in a head-to-head contest.
In reporting about this development last week, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow argued that a Roberts loss had the potential of keeping the U.S. Senate under Democratic control, since Orman was likely to caucus with the Dems. And while the situation got considerably muddier a day later, when the Kansas Secretary of State refused to remove Taylor’s name from the ballot due to a technicality that just happens to benefit Roberts, whom he supports, Orman remains a viable candidate. Prior to Taylor’s withdrawal, Roberts had hardly been campaigning — but this weekend, he faced off against Orman in a debate at the Kansas State Fair.
More at The Latest Word blog.