Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) held off primary challenger Milton Wolf on Tuesday, leaving the Tea Party with only one more chance this election cycle to defeat a Senate incumbent. If Joe Carr does not oust Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) on Thursday, no incumbent Senator will have lost a primary this year.
The Associated Press called the primary for Roberts three hours after the polls closed, which was much later than expected. Roberts was leading Wolf, 48% to 41%, with nearly 73.6% of the votes in; two other candidates on the ballot had a combined 11% of the vote when the race was called.
Roberts, 78, was worried after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his primary in June that he could be “next.” Wolf, a 43-year-old radiologist who is President Barack Obama’s second cousin, hammered Roberts for not being a Kansas resident. Roberts, who rents out his Kansas property and reportedly stays with top donors when he is in the state for a significant amount of time, compounded the matter when he fumbled a question about his residency during a radio interview.
“Every time I get an opponent — I mean, every time I get a chance, I’m home,” Roberts told a Kansas radio station. His campaign also stumbled on social media when Roberts’ @PatRoberts2014 campaign account re-Tweeted a comment from a Twitter user who called Wolf “racist” and a “fool” before it was undone.
Roberts, who has been in Washington for nearly 50 years, refused to debate Wolf, and Roberts’ team alleged the two did not differ significantly on the issues to even have one. Wolf’s allies said Roberts, who called for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign as he moved right before the primary, would be more willing to