Roberts, center, got some help Thursday from colleagues Cruz, left, and Coburn, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WICHITA, Kan. — Pat Roberts has served Kansas in the Senate for nearly 18 years, but freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had all the political clout at a Roberts campaign event Thursday.
The conservative icon and potential presidential candidate’s support could be crucial for Roberts, who faces a challenge from independent candidate Greg Orman in a suddenly competitive race that has implications for the Senate majority.
Here to kick off his statewide bus tour, Roberts took the stage with Cruz, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp — three allies on hand to provide support and additional enthusiasm. Roberts got solid applause, but the crowd erupted when Cruz, who had the final speaking slot, was introduced — yelling and cheering, longer and louder than for any other speaker.
“I’m here in Kansas because I know Pat. The two years I’ve served in the Senate, over and over again on fight after fight for conservative principles, Pat Roberts has shown up and reported for duty,” Cruz told the crowd. “A year ago last week, when I was standing on the Senate floor filibustering on Obamacare, Pat Roberts was one of a handful of senators who came down and stood by my side and said, ‘Obamacare is a disaster, and we’ve got to stop it.’”