TOPEKA, Kan., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts accused independent challenger Greg Orman of being "a liberal Democrat" in Wednesday's debate leading up to the 2014 midterm elections.
"Kansans know they have a choice to make," the three-term senator said.
"They can make a choice between a trusted conservative Republican with integrity or my opponent, who is a liberal Democrat who still wont shoot straight ... [Orman] ran against me as a Democrat in 2008 and he gave contributions, $174,000 to Hillary Clinton, to Barack Obama, and yes, even Harry Reid. By deed and by word and by campaign contribution he cannot stand up to the Reid-Obama agenda."
Although Orman is refusing to acknowledge which party he will caucus with if elected, he swiftly shot down Roberts' assertion about campaign contributions, saying the senator was "making up facts" with the numbers and information presented.
Pollsters currently project the race as a tossup, with each candidate tied at 42.5 percent according to the latest data -- great news for Roberts, who was down by five percentage points as recently as a week ago.
Despite the dead heat, Roberts has outspent Orman $3.4 million to $309,000. The struggling Senator spent $1.1 million on media buys, more than Orman has spent on his entire campaign, and had to turn to out of state Super PACs and the shadowy Koch brothers to raise money.
"Tonight, Senator Roberts is going to tell you that President Obama and Harry Reid are the reason Washington's such a mess and you know what? He's half right," Orman said.
"But the other half of the mess: [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell and Pat Roberts. The truth is both parties are more interested in playing games than solving problems and both parties are failing Kansas. That's why I'm running for the U.S. Senate as an independent."