In the view of Kansas doctor Milton Wolf, there might be an illness shared by his state’s two Republican senators: They’re not conservative enough.
Wolf has already once declared himself the cure: In 2014, he led an aggressive, but unsuccessful, primary challenge that placed him within 7 points of Republican Sen. Pat Roberts.
This year, he’s focusing his attention on Roberts’ colleague, fellow Republican Sen. Jerry Moran.
“I really do mean it when I say I'd rather be a doctor than a politician, but our country is in trouble and it's clear that Washington is failing us,” Wolf told CQ Roll Call.
And while he said he has "not yet made a decision about 2016,” Wolf – a tea party conservative – couldn’t help but take a jab at Moran.
“Of course with Jerry Moran thumbing his nose at Kansas Republicans by voting for Obama's tax hikes, spending, debt, corporate welfare and by funding Democrat get-out-the-vote efforts in Mississippi, first we need to know whether Moran plans to run as a Republican or as a Democrat,” he said, deriding Moran's work at the NRSC to defend Thad Cochran from a tea party challenge of his own in 2014.
In recent weeks, Wolf has re-upped his vocal dissatisfaction with the Sunflower State's GOP leadership. In a series of posts on Twitter, Wolf decried Moran's stance with Senate Republican leadership in the legislative drama that pitted them against conservatives Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.
When a Senate amendment that would have attached language to a transportation bill to defund Planned Parenthood failed, Wolf said , "When Kansans learn of Jerry's betrayal today, he may have to start renting a recliner in Pat Roberts' Virginia home just to hide out."
This much is clear… We must save the Republican Party from itself before we can save the republic from socialist Democrats.— Dr. Milton Wolf (@miltonwolfmd) August 2, 2015
When it happened again this week, Wolf added , "We must save the Republican Party from itself before we can save the republic from socialist Democrats."
In February 2014, Wolf found himself at the center of a controversy after he posted X-ray images of gunshot victims on a Facebook page accompanied by insensitive commentary. Just before the Republican primary, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts opened an investigation into whether he violated the patients' privacy rights. A year later, Wolf says he has been cleared . The Topeka newspaper reported his medical license was renewed earlier this year.
In post on his campaign website Monday, Wolf accused Kansas Republicans and the board of being corrupt, and said, "I won't back down."
“It’s time we stand up to these bullies in Washington and Topeka, both Democrats and Republicans, who are ruining our country and our state. They did everything they could to destroy me but they failed," he said.
Despite his motivation, taking on Moran would – at the very minimum – be an uphill climb. Moran, who defended candidates such as Roberts when he chaired the NRSC, has more than $2.3 million in the bank.
"Jerry Moran is a proven leader who has broad support from Kansas voters," said Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the NRSC. "He even enjoys the support of donors from every county in the state. His commitment to the people of Kansas puts him in a great position for the upcoming campaign."
Kansas Republican operatives have described Moran as much more popular than Roberts was at the same time last cycle. Moran has spent extensive time traveling the state over the last six years and, unlike Roberts, does not have the perception problem – started by Wolf and perpetuated by Democrats – that he was not living in the state.
"It's well known that Senator Moran is in Kansas at every opportunity and makes it a priority to talk to Kansans to understand their concerns about what's going on in Washington," Bozek added.
Correction 3:10 p.m. A previous version of this article misstated the year in which Wolf lost to Roberts in the Republican primary for Kansas Senate.