The Washington Post
Battle for the Senate: How the GOP did it
From the Senate to gubernatorial races, here are the key winners Republican from the 2014 midterm elections. (The Washington Post)
One night in early September, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called a longtime colleague, Sen. Pat Roberts, from his living room in Louisville, furious about the 78-year-old Republican’s fumbling and lethargic reelection campaign.
Roberts had raised a paltry $62,000 in August. He was airing no ads. His campaign staff, mostly college students, had gone back to school. Most worrisome, McConnell had in his hands a private polling memo predicting Roberts would lose in Kansas — an alarming possibility that could cost the GOP a Senate majority.
McConnell was blunt. A shake-up was needed. Roberts unleashed a flurry of expletives at McConnell. Ultimately, though, the ex-Marine gave in. The next day, he led campaign manager Leroy Towns, 70, a retired college professor and confidant, into a Topeka conference room and fired him. There were tears. “It hurt,” Towns said.
Eleven hundred miles away in Richmond, Va., Chris LaCivita, a hard-charging Republican fixer, was on his back deck picking apart steamed crabs and drinking beer with friends when he got the order to fly to Kansas. The Republican rescue was underway.