TOPEKA, Kansas — U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts intensified his television advertising Friday ahead of the Kansas Republican primary, launching a spot that highlights a state medical board investigation of tea party challenger Milton Wolf over his past postings of graphic X-ray images on a personal Facebook site.
Roberts executive campaign manager Leroy Towns said the senator plans to run about $350,000 in television advertising in the final 10 days before the Aug. 5 election. Roberts is seeking his fourth, six-year term but is facing an aggressive challenge from Dr. Milton Wolf, a Leawood radiologist with endorsements from national tea party groups.
"We see this as an issue that is potentially disqualifying to him as a candidate," Towns said.
Wolf spokesman Ben Hartman said the new ad contains "misleading rhetoric" and called Roberts a "desperate career politician." Wolf has made Roberts' longevity in Washington his key issue and attacks him regularly for listing rented space in the Dodge City home of two supporters as his official residence.
"He is collapsing in the polls," Hartman said.
Roberts' television and radio ads have repeatedly criticized Wolf for the 2010 postings on a now-disabled Facebook page, which included images of fatal gunshot wounds and other serious medical injuries, along with dark-humor commentary. The spots suggest that patients' privacy was violated, something Wolf disputes.
Wolf acknowledged in February that he posted the material, and he apologized. But The Topeka Capital-Journal, which published the first story about the postings, reported this week that the State Board of Healing Arts was investigating them.
The Capital-Journal reported that it received a letter this month from the board's disciplinary counsel, asking the newspaper to share materials about the postings in its possession and confirming "a formal investigation to collect all the relevant information." The board declined to release a copy of the letter after The Associated Press filed an open records request.
Wolf's campaign has called the allegations behind the investigation politically motivated. But Roberts' ad argues that the investigation shows that Wolf is unfit to be a senator.
Roberts campaign: http://www.robertsforsenate.com/
Wolf campaign: http://www.miltonwolf.com/