Democrats working to compete in red state Senate contests

From The Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Following a recruiting success in Indiana, Democrats are eyeing Kansas as they try to expand their playing field into red states and take back the Senate this fall.

GOP Sen. Jerry Moran is up for re-election in Kansas, Republican-friendly territory that’s on few lists of competitive races this year. Thus far his opponents are little-known, but Democrats are watching a Kansas businessman, Greg Orman, who ran for Senate two years ago as an independent, to see if he might make another try this year, according to one Democratic official with knowledge of the deliberations.

Orman challenged longtime GOP Sen. Pat Roberts in 2014 and ran a more competitive race than expected, although Roberts ultimately won. Orman could get on the ballot as an independent again this year by filing petition signatures by Aug. 1.

Orman did not return phone and email messages seeking comment. The Democrat who discussed Orman’s potential candidacy did so on condition of anonymity ahead of an official decision.

The focus on Kansas follows developments Monday in Indiana, where Democrats were applauding news that former Sen. Evan Bayh is looking to make a comeback.

Bayh’s candidacy would instantly create a competitive race in Indiana, where incumbent GOP Sen. Dan Coats is retiring and the Republican candidate to replace him, Rep. Todd Young, can’t match Bayh’s name recognition or fundraising.

The developments in both states stand as the latest examples of Democratic attempts to mount competitive races on Republican-friendly terrain, as they try to capitalize on turmoil around Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.

“It’s going to be good for the country, good for Indiana to have him back,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said Monday of Bayh, adding that …

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