Kansas Republican streak on line in US Senate race

FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2014 file photo Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, left, and independent candidate Greg Orman shake hands after a debate at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, Kan. The veteran Kansas Senator is struggling to win re-election and turn back a strong challenge from Orman, a suburban businessman running as an independent who is capitalizing on sentiment that the 78-year-old incumbent is out of touch. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

TOPEKA, Kansas – Kansas voters aren’t exactly known for an independent streak. Not since 1932 have they elected someone other than a Republican to the U.S. Senate.

Republican Sen. Pat Roberts was looking to continue his party’s good fortunes Tuesday against a surprisingly staunch challenge from independent candidate Greg Orman.

Roberts has described his re-election campaign as crucial to Republican hopes of regaining the Senate and providing a check to the policies of Democratic President Barack Obama. He’s tried to portray Orman as a liberal Democrat.

Orman has described Roberts as part of a broken partisan system that has ground Washington to a halt. He’s vowed to bridge political divides and has emphasized his business expertise.

Orman became the main alternative to Roberts after Democratic nominee Chad Taylor dropped out in September.

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