Kansas millionaire Greg Orman is relying on Democratic campaign firms to guide his independent run for the U.S. Senate.
Orman has given nearly $25,000 to Hamilton Campaigns for polling work throughout the cycle, according to his campaign filings. The FEC reports indicate that Orman, a multi-millionaire businessman, personally paid $22,625 for Hamilton’s polling work before getting reimbursed by the campaign.
The Washington D.C.-based firm has worked almost exclusively for Democrats, including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, DNC Chief Debbie Wasserman Shultz, Democratic Governor’s Association, and a host of individual Democratic candidates.
It also works for the nation’s most powerful abortion lobbyists, including Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List, a PAC dedicated to electing pro-abortion politicians. Emily’s List is the third highest 527 spender in the 2014 cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Hamilton also represents some of the largest unions in the country, including the SEIU and the AFL-CIO.
Wasserman-Shultz has called Hamilton president David Beattie the Democratic Party’s "under-the-radar secret weapon," according to Roll Call. Beattie did not return request for comment.
Hamilton Campaigns helped Orman craft the independent message that helped propel him to a double-digit lead over incumbent GOP Sen. Pat Roberts after Democratic nominee Chad Taylor dropped out of the race in September.
In April, Hamilton conducted a poll showing "lukewarm" support for Roberts among 500 Kansas voters. Many were looking for an "alternative candidate," according to Hamilton’s analysis.
"It's saying that there’s clearly a space open for someone," Beattie told the Topeka Capital-Journalof the poll. "It’s a sign there’s not a ton of strong loyalty."
Orman has said that he will caucus with whichever party wins a majority in the Senate. However, Republicans have pointed to Orman’s aborted 2008 Senate run as a Democrat, as well as his support from abortion groups and fundraising events sponsored by wealthy liberals. Roberts has seized on this point in ads raising these questions and calling him "Obama’s candidate."
"A vote for Greg Orman is a vote for the Obama agenda," an October Roberts ad says.
Roberts campaign manager Corry Bliss said that the use of Democratic campaign infrastructure pokes another hole in Orman’s claim of independence.
"Greg Orman is a liberal Democrat and his campaign is funded by his fellow liberal Democrats. A vote for Greg Orman is a vote for Barack Obama and Harry Reid," Bliss said. "The liberal elite know that, which is why they are dumping millions of dollars into Kansas to deceive Kansas voters. Kansans also know Greg Orman is a pro-abortion, pro-amnesty, pro-Obamacare liberal, which is why they will reject him on Election Day."
The businessman has criticized both parties in his campaign ads, which were produced by Democratic firm Adelstein Liston, according to Politico. Orman paid the firm about $170,000 for its work. Adlestein Liston worked on the Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s campaign. It has also served Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, and radical environmentalist group Natural Resource Defense Council.
Orman also paid $10,000 to PCI Consultants to help develop his ground game. That firm has done work with the ACLU and Humane Society, as well as several public sector unions and gun control groups.
One Republican operative in Kansas said that Orman’s base of support and the team he has surrounded himself with indicate how he will caucus if elected on Nov. 4.
"Orman has been supported by Femocrats at the outset when they tried to remove their own candidate from the ballot, then staffed by Femocrats. It seems like Democrats may know something we don't about how Orman might caucus," the operative said.
Orman and Roberts are in a dead heat with five days to go before the Nov. 4 election. A Real Clear Politics poll average shows Orman leading by less than one point.