Should Republicans (or Democrats) Accept Orman if They Don't Need Him?

Kansas Senate candidate Greg Orman has campaigned as an independent. He has said that he will (or at least will likely) caucus with whatever party has the majority. His race is currently the closest in the country, according to 538.com.

Much of the focus on his candidacy has been on what he would do if he is himself the deciding vote for majority in the Senate. But I’m imagining a scenario in which he is not the deciding vote, e.g. the Republicans have 51 seats without him. Should they take him on or tell him to take a hike?

My feeling is that there’s no reason to accept such a guy. He’s made it clear that he has no loyalty to the Republican Party, and if you ever needed him there’s no saying that he would be there for you. Suppose you have 51 seats without him now and then lose one in the next election. Likely as not, he would jump ship, and what did you gain from having him? And if in the interim you need someone for a crucial close vote, he’s the likeliest guy to defect.

Of course, if the guy wants to vote for your guy as majority leader, who is going to stop him. The question is whether you should give him any of your committee positions and/or chairmanships in order to have him on your side, when he’s only going to be there when you don’t need him anyway.

A similar question would apply to Democrats as well, but less so, since Orman is widely thought to be a (moderate) Democrat at heart, so he’s more likely to stick around on your side.

Yes, you do. You never know when you might need that one more vote, for one thing. For another, you can’t put too much weight on ideological purity or tests of party loyalty. Actual accomplishment involves compromise, even, and maybe especially, within your own caucus, and if you don’t recognize that then you have something like today’s House.

You do have to make sure the guy recognizes that obligations work both ways, of course - if he’s going to waver, then he doesn’t get the plum committee assignments or the good office space or get any of his constituency-driven legislation through,

When did he say that about caucusing with the majority party; I had the impression he was more Democratic leaning?

His own website.

I’m from his Kansas district and your right, the contest is pretty hot. I’m constantly getting phone calls and mailings about it.

I was going to vote for Orman. Why? Because I just like the idea of an independent. However Orman has been doing a poor job of saying where he is on most issue so as of right now I’m going with his republican rival.

Democrats are supporting him because he’s more Democratic-leaning than his opponent is. That doesn’t mean that he personally leans more Democratic than Republican.