Greg Orman on Principles & Values
Former Democratic Senate Challenger
But the businessman, dressed in blue jeans and a tailored blazer, wasn't fazed. Orman took every chance to call Washington broken and point out the long tenure of Roberts there.
Orman repeatedly said he tried both parties and didn't like either. But Roberts wasn't buying it. He pushed for Orman to better define who he would side with in the Senate, asking if he was going to be a Republican one day and a Democrat the next.
"The expectation in Kansas is that candidates run under a party label," Orman said. He continued to say that this expectation does not line up with a new Gallup poll showing that 42 percent of Americans consider themselves independent voters. He was once hopeful that a two-party system could find solutions, but it has become clear that neither party represents the values that average Americans share.
Orman describes himself as a fiscally conservative, socially tolerant candidate--and too often voters with mixed politics cannot find a home within either party. Plenty of research has shown that the average American's political opinion is a blend of conservative and liberal ideals. Are people resistant to the idea of a blend of politics?
"There is definitely a strong psychological connection to party affiliations," Orman said.
"Washington is broken," he said, "and we're sending the worst of both parties to Washington--people who are bitter partisans who seem to care more about pleasing the extremists in their own party and the special interests than they do in solving problems."
He said Roberts is part of the problem. "He's taken a sharp turn to the right recently and ultimately I don't think he's representing the best interests of Kansas," Orman said. Orman, a 1991 graduate of Princeton University, briefly ran against Roberts in 2008 as a Democrat before dropping out of the race.
Orman said elected leaders of both parties are focused more on getting re-elected than solving problems. "I tried to work within the system but ultimately decided the only real way to make a difference is to challenge it," he said.
"I consider myself fiscally conservative and socially tolerant," Orman said. For about 13 of the last 14 years, Orman said, he has been registered as unaffiliated. He has supported Republicans and Democrats, but he's contributed more to independent causes, he said. He declined to reveal how he voted in the 2012 presidential race between Democrat President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, saying he believed in the sanctity of the ballot.
In 2007, Orman prepared to run as a Democrat against Roberts. "I just didn't feel comfortable running with a party label," he said, and he soon withdrew from the race.