Arizona Sen. John McCain is planning a trip to Kansas to assist fellow Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, who is locked in a surprisingly competitive re-election battle.
In a brief interview with CQ Roll Call on Wednesday, McCain said he'll stump for "an old Marine" — Roberts — at one of several stops the former presidential nominee will make across the Senate map over the final eight weeks of the cycle. He's already been to New Hampshire and Virginia on behalf of Republican challengers, and that's just the start.
"I'm going to Oregon. I'm going to North Carolina. I'm going to a couple other places," McCain said. "You know how it is these last couple of months." The five-term senator, who is not a favorite of the right, said his stock had gone up since the conclusion of the primaries on Tuesday. "There was not a great demand before the primaries," he said.
At the outset of the cycle, few would have guessed Roberts would need to call in reinforcements after securing the Republican nomination. Plagued by residency issues and turmoil in the party in Kansas, Roberts' path was further complicated last week when Democratic nominee Chad Taylor attempted to drop out of the race.
That cleared a path for independent Greg Orman, a well-funded candidate who polls strongly against Roberts, to mount a serious challenge even in the solidly Republican state. The race is rated Tilts Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
Roberts revamped his campaign team immediately following the news, bringing in a new campaign manager and general consultant. And he came out swinging in the first debate last weekend.
The campaign will need money for the final stretch. Roberts had $1.4 million in cash on hand as of mid-July, two weeks before the primary , and presumably finished the primary with less. Visits from fellow senators like McCain could help.
Orman won't get similar assistance from Maine Sen. Angus King, one of two independents in the Senate.