Lenexa Independent U.S. Senate candidate Greg Orman delivered a stinging rebuke to both political parties Wednesday in a speech that was billed as his "closing argument" in the 2014 campaign.
Speaking in a Johnson County warehouse to about 100 supporters, as well as the national and international press, Orman struck a populist tone by accusing both the Democratic and Republican parties of failing to address the needs of the country.
He also struck back at the attack ads being run by incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts and other outside groups advertising on his behalf.
"You can't turn on your TV today without seeing a fury of the broken system lashing back and attacking me," he said. "But let me tell you this. All of the attacks are not about me personally. The real fundamental threat to their power is you, the people of Kansas. The real threat is that you will reject their broken political process. The powers that be are not trying to stop me, they're trying to stop you."
With less than two weeks remaining before Election Day, recent polls have shown the race narrowing as Roberts has slowly begun to catch up. Still, neither candidate has yet polled above 50 percent since the campaign began.
During that time, the Roberts campaign and other groups have bombarded the airwaves with ads insisting that Orman is really a liberal Democrat posing as an independent, citing his past campaign contributions to President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada.
But the Orman campaign staged the event to dispel that very criticism by having former state Rep. Eric Carter, a conservative Republican from Overland Park, introduce him.
"We're all worried for our country, and for good reason. We've got challenges on the horizon," Carter said. "The one thing we've seen that has now been measured for decades is that it doesn't appear that the current batch of folks and the current way that we're doing things is going to meet those challenges."
The Roberts campaign responded to the speech with a statement from campaign manager Corry Bliss.
“If Kansans want to see who Greg Orman will stand with if elected to the Senate, they don’t need to look any further than to see who is raising money for him,” Bliss said. “Just last week, Orman held a fundraiser in New York hosted by the family of liberal billionaire George Soros."
But Orman repeated his promise that if elected, he will not support either Reid or Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to be the next majority leader.
“If elected, no matter how I vote to organize the Senate, I do not intend to be a silent soldier for either the Democrats or Republicans," Orman said.