Sarah Palin Heads to Kansas as GOP Anxiety over Pat Roberts Builds

Sarah Palin is the latest big-name Republican to come to the aid of Pat Roberts.

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Now it's Sarah Palin's turn. The former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate will headline a breakfast Thursday for Kansas Senator Pat Roberts in Independence, Kansas.

Her visit comes the same week Roberts campaigned with Palin's former running mate, John McCain, and with Bob Dole, the former Kansas senator and presidential candidate, and comes of a few days ahead of a visit by Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor. Senator Rand Paul and Representative Paul Ryan also will enter the fray and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney recorded a robocall in support of Roberts. 

If you're wondering why Republicans from across the party's ideological spectrum are rushing to the heartland, Roberts newly installed campaign manager Corry Bliss put it plainly in announcing Palin's imminent arrival.

"Republicans in Kansas, and across the country, are uniting around our campaign because we cannot win the Senate majority without Pat Roberts,'' Bliss said. 

That may be true, but Bliss's willingness to discard with any pretense that the Republican incumbent in the deep-red state is in good shape is striking.

Roberts, who survived a Tea Party-backed challenge in the state's Republican primary, saw his general election upended when the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Chad Taylor, the Democratic candidate, could take his name off the ballot.  Taylor's decision, which came at the urging of Democrats, put Roberts head to head with Greg Orman, a declared independent who has been ahead of three-term incumbent by as many as 10 points in polling.

The Senator has been plagued by charges of being out of touch with the state, something the senator's' residence (a house in Dodge City belonging to two donors, according to the New York Times) and comments ("Every time I get an opponent -- I mean, every time I get a chance -- I’m home,'' Roberts said in a July radio interview) have served to bolster.

 Now, with the court decision final, national attention has turned onto the race, and the chance that a Roberts loss would imperil Republicans' chances of taking the Senate majority come November. 

National campaign aides from both parties have parachuted in, money is flowing and rhetoric has grown increasingly sharp (Roberts referred to the direction of the U.S. under Obama as "more like a European socialist state, yes,'' according to Philip Rucker of the Washington Post.)

Check out Rucker's piece that posted today and you'll get a good sense of how much trouble Roberts is really in.