Greg Orman, the independent U.S. Senate candidate from Kansas, won’t say whether he’ll caucus with Republicans or Democrats if he wins in November — a decision that could determine which party controls Congress’ upper chamber.
But such uncertainty hasn’t dulled enthusiasm from some of Orman’s prominent left-leaning donors during what’s become one of the nation’s more bizarre races: incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts narrowly survived a primary challenge from tea party foe Milton Wolf, and now, the Democratic candidate is attempting to drop out and may not even appear on the ballot.
Take entertainment lawyer Charles Ortner, who has represented the likes of Madonna, U2, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.
This election cycle, Ortner has donated a combined $54,900 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics and a Center for Public Integrity review of Federal Election Commission filings. He’s also given $1,000 to Orman.
“Mr. Orman is a fundamentally decent individual. He is not an ideologue. He is a practical problem solver,” said Ortner, who previously bundled between $100,000 and $200,000 for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and was later tapped by the president to serve on the board of trustees for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
“When I made a donation to Mr. Orman’s campaign I had no idea this would turn into a two-candidate race,” Ortner continued.
That sentiment was echoed by Hollywood executive Bernie Cahill, who has counted Ortman as a friend and business partner for more than 20 years.
This year, Cahill personally donated $16,200 to the Democratic National Committee and also helped put together “a small get together” for Orman’s campaign in Los Angeles. Campaign finance records show he has given $5,200 to Orman’s campaign — the legal maximum — as has his wife, Jaime Murray, the actress known for her roles on TV shows such as “Defiance,” “Hustle” and “Dexter.”
“Greg is going to be accountable first and foremost to the people of Kansas, and by extension he will act in the best interest of all the citizens of the United States,” Cahill said. “Frankly I’m not concerned in the least who he caucuses with.”