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Republicans 52
Democrats 45
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GOP +7, IND +1
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Democrats 192
GOP +9
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Democrats 22
Independents 1
DEM +1, IND +1
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Few states are more reliably Republican than the Sunflower State.  Boasting two GOP senators, 4 GOP congressmen, a GOP governor and large GOP majorities in the state legislature, Kansas gave just 39% of its 2008 presidential vote to Barack Obama.  Such a situation might seem like a sweet deal to an incumbent Republican senator seeking re-election - unless your voting record isn't conservative enough.

In the recent cycles, the Tea Party has proven successful in knocking off several more moderate Republicans in deep red states like Kansas, and Pat Roberts, Kansas' senior senator, is not the most conservative guy on the block.  However, he has cultivated the kind of reputation and rapport with voters and colleagues alike that insulates him from the designs of the far right.

And it's not that he's a RINO by any stretch.  Though, as the Republican contingent in the Senate has moved rightward lately, his relative voting record has migrated more toward the center.  In 2009, his conservative score was rated 87.3.  By 2012, that score has slipped to 73.8%.  (A score of 60%, for example, signifies a voting record more conservative than 60% of the Senate as a whole.)

Still, Roberts has been outspoken in his opposition to Obamacare and his efforts to defund it have no doubt further assuaged any inclination of the Tea Party to pick a fight.  On the other side of the spectrum, Democrats don't have much stomach for a fight either.  Two cycles ago, back in 2002, Roberts didn't even face a Democratic opponent and won 83% of the votes against a couple of third party candidates.  This election he might enjoy the same luxury as no Democrats have yet decided to mount a challenge.

Preliminary projection:  Solid GOP Hold

Correction:  Democrat Chad Taylor, Shawnee County District Attorney, is running in this race.

You can track this race throughout the 2014 election season here at Election Projection by visiting the Kansas Senate Election page for polls, projections and updates.  Also, check out the 2014 Senate Elections page for a summary of all Senate races on tap in 2014 complete with EP's colorful red and blue Senate map.

posted by Scott Elliott at 12:07pm 12/09/13 :: link
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