The super PAC backed by owners of the Chicago Cubs are pouring cash into Kansas for the next two weeks to support embattled Republican Senator Pat Roberts. Ending Spending Action Fund, started by TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, plans a $1 million ad buy on network TV, cable and radio, according to the group.
Roberts is facing a surprisingly difficult re-election bid this year against independent Greg Orman. Since the Aug. 5 primary, Orman has dominated the airwaves putting up nearly four spots on network TV and national cable for every one from Roberts' campaign, Kantar Media's CMAG data shows. Polls show him leading Roberts by a few percentage points.
Republicans hadn't planned on spending big money in Kansas, and are worried that a loss there could cost them the Senate. "It is crazy to give the Senate majority — and with it the direction of our country for the next two years – to a liberal masquerading as an independent," said Ending Spending President Brian Baker.
Other groups have tried to fill in the gaps for Roberts — Freedom Partners Action Fund, backed by billionaires Charles and David Koch, started airing commercials to support Roberts on Sept. 27. (Koch Industries is based in Wichita, Kan.) Three days later the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund also joined the air war.
Outside support for Orman materialized Wednesday when a new group called the Committee to Elect and Independent Senate ran its first commercial in the Witchita market.