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Koch-backed super PAC puts $1.1 million in Kansas race

updated 7:15 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
  • Koch-backed super PAC is pushing two TV ads worth over $1.1 million to defeat Greg Orman
  • Orman, an independent, could cast the deciding vote in deciding control of the Senate
  • Orman hasn't said who he would caucus with, but Republicans are painting him as a Democrat-in-disguise
  • The ad buy follows the same group's $6.5 million injection into 6 other competitive states

Washington (CNN) -- The super PAC backed by the Koch brothers is making its final push in Kansas on Thursday with a seven figure ad buy urging voters to keep independent candidate Greg Orman out of the Senate.

Orman has remained tight-lipped on which party he would caucus with if elected, but the Koch-backed super PAC is funneling more than $1.1 million into Kansas airwaves to make sure Orman doesn't get the chance to cast the deciding vote for Senate control.

Freedom Partners Action Fund, the sole super PAC in the Koch brothers' vast network of political groups, is launching two TV ads in Kansas that link Orman to President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The ads will run through Election Day.

"The future of Kansas, of our country could depend on you," the narrator says in one ad. "Kansas can stop Harry Reid and Barack Obama's failed policies. How? Don't vote for Greg Orman."

Recent polls show Orman is neck-and-neck with incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts in one of the most watched Senate races this cycle. And after Democrats pulled their candidate to boost Orman's chances of unseating Roberts, Republicans have made every attempt to paint Orman as a Democrat-in-disguise.

It's a strategy the Koch-backed group has also adopted, dropping $6.5 million of ads in six other battleground Senate races to paint a vote for Democratic Senate candidates as a vote for Obama.

The pair of Kansas ads might be the group's final push, but it's not their first. The super PAC threw $500,000 worth of TV time last month with the same strategy of linking Orman to Obama.

Orman and Roberts are tied at 46% of support, according to a Monmouth University poll released Monday. A CNN/ORC poll earlier this month also judged the race a statistical tie, with Roberts leading by just one point with 49%.

Orman is just one of the candidates this year who could shake things up in the Senate. In South Dakota, former Sen. and now-Independent Larry Pressler is a top contender in a competitive three-man race -- and there's also a chance he could caucus with Democrats.

And in North Carolina, a separate Koch-backed group is on the airwaves with an ad supporting libertarian candidate Sean Haugh in a ploy clearly aimed at siphoning liberal votes away from Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.

"[Sean Haugh] supports our progressive values. Pro-legalization, pro-environment. More weed, less war," a young female narrator says in the ad.

An independent candidate polling at about 3% in Georgia could also push the race to a runoff in January if neither the Democrat or Republicans crack the 50% vote threshold.