Gregory John Orman|
December 2, 1968
Mankato, Minnesota, U.S.
|Political party||Independent (2009–present)|
Republican (before 2007)|
Sybil Orman (m. 2013)
|Education||Princeton University (BA)|
Gregory John Orman (born December 2, 1968) is a politician, American entrepreneur and perennial political candidate. He ran as an independent to represent Kansas in the United States Senate in the 2014 election, losing to incumbent U.S. Senator Pat Roberts. On January 24, 2018, Orman announced he would run for governor of the state of Kansas in 2018.
Orman was born and raised in Mankato, Minnesota, the second-oldest of six children. His mother, Darlene Gates, was a registered nurse. When he was five his parents divorced. His mother got full custody of the children and later sued her ex-husband for child support payments. His father, Tim, moved to Stanley, Kansas and opened a furniture store. He lived with his mother during the school year; during the summers he worked in his father's warehouse. His mother was a Democrat and his father a Republican. As a young adult, Orman admired Ronald Reagan.
Orman graduated from Princeton University in 1991 with a degree in economics. He was a member of the Princeton College Republicans and worked for George H. W. Bush's presidential campaign in 1988. However, in 1992 he supported independent candidate Ross Perot.
After graduating, Orman worked for consultancy firm McKinsey & Company before he founded Environmental Lighting Concepts in 1992, which designs and installs energy-efficient lighting systems for commercial and industrial companies. He built the company into a multimillion-dollar business with over 120 employees in four years, before selling a majority of the company to Kansas City Power and Light in 1996. About Orman, a colleague at the time said “this guy had a plan and a vision” and “seemed to work around the clock.”
In 1996, Orman was put in charge of KLT Energy Services, a subsidiary of Kansas City Power & Light. Orman remained at Kansas City Power & Light for six more years and grew KLT Energy Services from less than $100 million in revenues to almost $1 billion before leaving the company in 2002.
In 2002, KCP&L merged the remnant of Environmental Lighting Concepts into one of its other subsidiaries. Filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission show Orman received $10.1 million in company stock and got paid more than $4.7 million – a sizable return for a sliver of a company that Orman started with nothing a decade earlier.
Drue Jennings, the CEO of Kansas City Power & Light at the time of their purchase of Environmental Lighting Concepts, referred to Orman as “very disciplined, and very studious, and never just took a flier at something. He had it thought through.”
In 2004, Orman co-founded private equity firm Denali Partners LLC  and is the Managing Member of Exemplar Holdings, LLC. Exemplar Holdings lists six portfolio companies on its website, including Combat Brands, a Lenexa, Kansas-based boxing equipment manufacturer. Other companies include Ripple Glass, a Kansas City-based recycler of glass containers that operates in six states; Exemplar Medical, which focuses on investing in companies that reduce the cost of healthcare; Exemplar Finance, which provides financing for capital equipment projects utilizing energy efficient technology; Dragon Jacket, a manufacturer of a patented, reusable pipe insulation product; and an affordable housing subsidiary that invests in local, affordable housing communities.
On December 28, 2015 Combat Brands LLC, the Orman led company, announced it acquired Kansas City-based Fitness First, Inc. Fitness First, a fitness equipment provider, was consolidated into Combat Brands' location, but operates under the name Fitness First. Acquiring Fitness First expands Combat's product offerings and helps grow the company, Orman said in an interview with Kansas City Business Journal, "Fitness First has done a tremendous job of building relationships with institutional customers. It gives us an opportunity to grow our business even further and expand into 2016." Orman extended employment offers to all Fitness First employees.
In June,1997 FRM Associates, of which Greg Orman was a partner, purchased The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The building today is known as "Marquette Plaza". According to Business Wire, "The building went under a multi-year renovation and addition which was completed in 2002. In 2011, the building re-established its `iconic status' and became the first downtown Minneapolis building to earn LEED Platinum certification. This status, granted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is the most prestigious and challenging level of LEED certification to achieve and illustrates the building's transformation and leadership in the greening of downtown." The building is also known as an architectural landmark defined by its unique "caternary" arch design.
Orman has professional and personal ties to former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta, and served as his designated representative on the board of New Silk Route, a private equity fund, from April 2013 until March 2014. When Gupta was convicted of insider trading in 2012, Orman said that "He is a friend of mine, he made a huge mistake, and he's paying the price for it. It shocked me like it shocked a lot of people when it came out that he was charged with those things."
At various times Orman has been registered as a Republican and a Democrat. He has been unaffiliated with a party since 2010. After a debate in 2014 he stated, "I've tried both parties; and, like most Kansans, I've been disappointed."
Orman has made donations to both Democrats and Republican candidates. In 2006, while he was considering running as a Democrat for the Senate, he gave US$1,000 to Harry Reid, and US$4,600 to the 2008 presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Public records also show donations to Dennis Moore, Nancy Boyda and Al Franken.
Orman donated to Republicans Todd Akin in 2006 and gave US$2,000 to Scott Brown in 2010, in an effort to block the passage of Obamacare. According to the Associated Press, Orman said regarding repealing the ACA, "…there is no point in trying to repeal it, as Roberts has proposed. I thought at the time we were expanding a broken system." He called, "Republican attempts to repeal the law impractical, considering that Obama remains in office and would veto any repeal…It sounds like a hollow political promise they can't keep."  Orman said that "I've made contributions to lots of political candidates over time, and I've generally been disappointed with the results."
Orman's contributions to political campaigns, according to the Associated Press, have been less than US$180,000 since 1997. Of that US$180,000, US$86,079 was contributed to his own campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2008 so that he could refund 100% of the contributions he received when he decided to drop out.
Orman has donated substantially more to political reform organizations. In 2012 he donated US$25,000 to the independent political organization Americans Elect. He has also contributed US$288,236 to the Common Sense Coalition.
Orman was briefly a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 U.S. Senate election in Kansas, but dropped out before the primary, saying "Whenever you run as a candidate in either party, there are certain constituencies that want you to behave and act and believe certain things. As I evaluated the race and looked at the positions I was going to have to take to get the support that was necessary to win, I just didn't feel comfortable taking those positions."
2014 U.S. Senate election
He faced incumbent Republican Senator Pat Roberts in the November general election. Orman was the main rival to Roberts after Democrat Chad Taylor dropped out of the race on September 3 over concerns that he and Orman would split votes from Independent and Democratic voters not breaking for Roberts.
The group Traditional Republicans for Common Sense endorsed Orman on September 3, 2014. This group is composed of approximately 70 former Republican elected officials. Jim Yonally, chairman of the group, stated "We believe Greg Orman is the best qualified candidate for the office of United States senator from Kansas", although some other members of the group expressed their support for Roberts following the announcement. During the campaign, Orman did not appear to receive significant support or help from any politicians or organizations, including Democrats. After the election, final fundraising reports showed that groups supporting Orman had received $1.5 million from Senate Majority PAC, run by former advisors to Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, $1 million from Independent New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and donations from GOP donors Peter Ackerman, Greg Penner, Jeffrey Binder and John Burbank.
Because the makeup of the U.S. Senate might have been affected if Orman was elected, NBC News said that Orman could be "the most interesting man in politics" in November. If Orman had been victorious, the U.S. Senate would have had three independent senators for the first time in the chamber's history.
Potential caucus affiliation
Due to the close nature of the 2014 Senate elections, Orman could have played the role of kingmaker in choosing the Senate Majority Leader. He proposed to caucus with whichever party held the majority in the Senate, saying that "it's in the best interests of the voters of Kansas that they have a senator in the majority".
In the event that Orman held the tiebreaking vote in the Senate, he stated that he would ask both parties to commit to issues including immigration and tax reform and caucus with whichever agreed. He said in October 2014 that if, after caucusing with one party for four or five months he found that "they're engaged in the same old partisan politics", he would "absolutely" consider caucusing with the other party to give them the majority instead. He explained: "Ultimately, this is about solving problems. This is about the voters of Kansas saying—the status quo doesn't work anymore."
Although Orman led incumbent Roberts in the polls in early November, Roberts defeated Orman 53% to 43%, with the balance going to a third party candidate. Robert's win was coined a "rescue mission" by the Washington Post. According to another Washington Post report, "Roberts spent the better part of September trailing his challenger by as much as 10 points...So, the national party sent in reinforcements and replaced the people at the head of Roberts's campaign. Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul -- a galaxy of the GOP's top stars -- trotted through what is often described as a flyover state. Bob Dole, on his tour of all 105 counties in Kansas, talked about his friend, Pat. Outside groups poured in nearly $10 million to support Roberts and to oppose Orman. Other outside groups also spent nearly $6 million in negative ads against Roberts."
On April 29, 2015, Lincoln Park Strategies released its PAAR (Percent Above Anticipated Results) report on predicted results versus actual results for the 2014 Senate elections. The report included Greg Orman's independent campaign for the U.S. Senate. The report concluded that "Greg Orman in Kansas had the highest positive PAAR score at 10.8. Pat Roberts is back in Washington DC for another six years, Orman was able to drop Roberts an astronomical 12 points below what a Republican candidate was expected to receive in 2014. Governor Sam Brownback and some self-imposed mistakes clearly helped Orman, yet the campaign deserves full accolades for having the second highest PAAR score from both parties."
According to Kansas Democratic Party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon, Orman and the Democratic Party have similar views in support of certain gun restrictions, reproductive rights, and other matters. Orman has described himself as "a problem solver, not a partisan" and describes his ideology as "fiscally responsible and socially tolerant". He supports "broad tax reform", is concerned about the impact entitlement spending is having on the federal deficit, and agrees with some of the ideas of former Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.
Orman has stated that he supports campaign finance reform, by proposing expansion of campaign finance disclosure rules and contribution restrictions. He also supports a constitutional amendment that would overturn the Citizens United decision. Orman has also proposed several reforms to campaign financing, including a ban on political action committees formed by congressional leaders and a ban on PAC donations from lobbyists to candidates.
Orman has declined to indicate whether he would have voted for the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. He did say, however, that "we need to relax the Dodd–Frank regulations that relate to community banks and region banks."
Orman was never asked his position on whether he would support an increase in the gas tax. He did indicate that he would promote oil and gas development: "I believe that we need to support continued oil and gas development." He also indicated he would support, "promoting fuels like CNG and LNG and electric vehicles..." 
According to Orman, he would have opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but is against repeal of it now. He told the Lawrence Journal-World in response to a question if the Affordable Care Act should be repealed in its entirety, amended to address specific problems or left as it is, he said, "I opposed ACA because it did nothing to fix a broken system. We had a national crisis in health care before the Affordable Care Act passed, and that crisis still exists today. But instead of playing political games with this issue as Republicans and Democrats in Congress have done, I believe we need to focus on what Washington can actually do to ensure that health care is affordable for all Americans."
He also has stated he supports maintaining or increasing border patrols to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants into the US. In addition, he supports a path to citizenship for some of the illegal immigrants already in the country. Orman has declined to take a stance on whether the Keystone Pipeline should be constructed, saying that he doesn't have enough information to make a decision. Orman is politically "pro-choice".
2016 book release
On May 3, 2016, Greg Orman's book A Declaration of Independents, How We Can Break the Two-Party Stranglehold and Restore the American Dream, published by Greenleaf Book Group, went on sale. In the book Orman describes how hyper-partisanship, division and a win-at-all-costs environment in Washington have created a toxic culture of self-interest that has left the average Americans behind.
The book has drawn critical praise from pundits and readers from across the political spectrum.
Morton Kondracke praised the book in his 2015 Wall Street Journal book review. He said, "[Orman] argues passionately and convincingly that a third force is necessary to challenge the Republican-Democrat "duopoly" that sustains a status quo of laws, regulations, subsidies and loopholes paid for by special-interest contributions to both parties."
Charles Wheelan, a senior lecturer and policy fellow at the Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College and contributing writer for U.S. News & World Report wrote in his review, "I hope this will be the first shot in a sustained assault on the broken two-party system. Orman is not a political scientist hunkered down in the Ivory Tower. Nor is he a vapid politician…He's a guy who ran a U.S. Senate campaign that nearly upended the political system. (If he had won, it would have changed American politics forever, as I wrote at the time.)"
2018 gubernatorial election
Orman filed to run as an Independent in the governor's race in 2018, with state senator John Doll. Doll was formerly a Republican House and then Senate member who changed his registration to Independent in 2018, to run as Orman's lieutenant gubernatorial running mate. Although many signatures were deemed ineligible, those gathered for his campaign were deemed sufficient by the state Objections Board, consisting of statewide Republican officials, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Governor Jeff Colyer, and Secretary of State, Kris Kobach. All three were represented at the board by their proxies. Colyer and Kobach were candidates for governor, with the latter winning the Republican primary by 343 votes. In a poll conducted on September 12-13, Orman, at 9% trailed Kobach and Democratic State Senator Laura Kelly, each by almost 20 points. By September 18, 2018, dozens of prominent Republicans had endorsed Kelly, including former Governor Bill Graves, former U.S. Senators Sheila Frahm and Nancy Kassebaum, and former Kansas Senate President Dick Bond.
- A Declaration of Independents, How We Can Break the Two-Party Stranglehold and Restore the American Dream ISBN 978-1-62634-332-0
- "The Mystery Candidate Shaking Up Kansas Politics". The Atlantic. September 27, 2014.
- Kaplan, Rebecca. Is Greg Orman a liberal Democrat? Sen. Pat Roberts thinks so, CBS News, October 15, 2014.
- "PRESS RELEASE: ORMAN CAMPAIGN LAUNCH". Retrieved 11 May 2018.
- Profile, Orman campaign website; accessed November 7, 2014.
- "Orman v. Orman". Justia Law. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
- "Greg Orman, a political enigma, faces growing scrutiny in Kansas Senate race". The Washington Post. September 28, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- Hancock, Peter (September 20, 2014). "Orman travels unique path to enter Kansas politics". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
- "Staking the Senate on Kansas?". The Washington Post. September 24, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- Hancock, Peter (2014-07-28). "Senate challenger says he has enough signatures to get on ballot as independent candidate". Lawrence Journal-World.
- Sullivan, Sean (September 4, 2014). "Meet Greg Orman, the man who could decide the Senate majority". Washington Post. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
- "Kansas Senate candidate got started in lights". Retrieved 11 May 2018.
- Helling, Dave (September 9, 2014). "Senate candidate Greg Orman's business, political interests run wide". Kansas City Star. Kansas City, Missouri. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
- Grote, Dora. "Orman-led company acquires KC business." Kansas City Business Journal, December 28, 2015.
- "Marquette Plaza Becomes First Minneapolis Downtown Building to Receive LEED Platinum Certification".
- Lowry, Bryan (September 17, 2014). "Greg Orman maintains professional ties with ex-Goldman Sachs board member convicted of securities fraud". Wichita Eagle. Wichita, Kansas. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Carpenter, Tim (September 21, 2014). "Orman's link to jailed investor deeper than first portrayed". Topeka Capital-Journal. Topeka, Kansas. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "Greg Orman, a political enigma, faces growing scrutiny in Kansas Senate race". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "Greg Orman Is the Luckiest Man Running for Senate". Bloomberg. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Ex-Goldman director gets two years in jail for insider trading". Los Angeles Times. 24 October 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- Raghavan, Anita (December 5, 2013). "Gupta Suit Against Partner Is Dismissed". New York Times: Dealbook. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
- "Roberts and Orman square off at state fair". KSN.com. 2014-09-06.
- "In Kansas Senate debate, Orman cites independence". Associated Press. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
- name= Beaumont, Thomas 09112014"Beaumont, Thomas (September 11, 2014). "Independent walks a tightrope in senate bid in Kan". Associated Press.
- Rucker, Philip (September 28, 2014). "Greg Orman, a political enigma, faces growing scrutiny in Kansas Senate race". Washington Post. Washington, D.C. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
- "Campaign finance data - FEC.gov". FEC.gov. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
- "Unite America". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
- CitizenAudit.org LLC. "CitizenAudit.org - Millions of Nonprofit Tax Documents" (PDF). Pdfs.citizenaudit.org. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
- "Democrat drops US Senate bid". LJWorld.com. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
- "Democrat sees path to upset in Kansas Senate race". Associated Press. 2014-08-17.
- Carpenter, Tim. September 3, 2014. "Republican group endorses Orman for Senate", Topeka Capital-Journal; retrieved September 18, 2014
- Epstein, Reid J. (September 26, 2014). "Independent Senate Candidate Orman of Kansas Draws Scant Democratic Support". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
- Kraske, Steve (December 7, 2014). "Democrats secretly backed independent Greg Orman in race for U.S. Senate in Kansas". Kansas City Star. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
- Todd, Chuck; Murray, Mark; Dann, Carey (September 19, 2014). "Greg Orman: The Most Interesting Man in Politics This November". NBC News. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- Ostermeier, Eric (October 1, 2014). "Rise of the Independents? Greg Orman Victory Would Make Senate History". Smart Politics.
- Profile, Fivethirtyeeight.org, September 4, 2014; accessed November 7, 2014.
- Lefler, Dion (September 6, 2014). "Pat Roberts, Greg Orman display their differences in first debate". Wichita Eagle. Wichita, Kansas. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
- Dion Lefler (October 6, 2014). "Orman: I Could 'Absolutely' Switch Parties After Picking Senate Side". Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- Rucker, Philip (November 5, 2014). "Battle for the Senate: How the GOP did it". Washington Post.
- Izadi, Elahe (November 5, 2014). "Pat Roberts pulls off a resounding win in Kansas". Washington Post.
- Carpenter, Tim (September 15, 2014). "Senate candidate Orman urges campaign finance reform". Topeka Capital-Journal. Topeka, Kansas. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- "Greg Orman on Government Reform". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
- "Kansas U.S. Senatorial Candidate Spending Analysis – Greg Orman". National Taxpayers Union. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- Kansas US Senate Candidates Forum (Television production). Overland Park, Kansas: KMBC-TV. October 8, 2014. Event occurs at 11:10. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- "Meet Greg Orman, the Never Elected, Unaffiliated, Seemingly Unstoppable Senate Candidate in Kansas". Bloomberg. 2014-10-07.
- http://www.ntu.org/foundation/page/2014-kansas-us-senatorial-candidate-spending-analysis-greg-orman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2SV_3G7VZk#t=10 (26:43)
- September 13, 2014. "Stormin' Orman", The Economist, October 8, 2014.; retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Lefler, Dion, Pat Roberts, Greg Orman display their differences in first debate. The Wichita Eagle, September 6, 2014.; retrieved October 11, 2014.
- "The Second Amendment"; retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Linkins, Jason, It's Getting Harder To Sort Out How Greg Orman Will Sort Himself. The Huffington Post; retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Hancock, Peter, October 4, 2014 LJWorld.com, Election issues: Q&A with U.S. House and Senate candidates
- "Key issues separate Pat Roberts, Greg Orman in U.S. Senate race in Kansas". The Wichita Eagle. September 19, 2014.
- Nichols, John (1 October 2014). "Here's What's NOT the Matter With Kansas". Retrieved 11 May 2018 – via www.thenation.com.
- Helling, Dave (September 19, 2014). "Pat Roberts and Greg Orman see several issues differently in the U.S. Senate race in Kansas". Kansas City Star. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Kondracke, Morton (June 7, 2016). "The 24% Manifesto". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- Wheelan, Charles (September 8, 2014). "Ground Zero for Third Party Politics". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- Wheelan, Charles (May 2, 2016). "Independents Are the Answer". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- Greg Orman still in Kansas race for governor after board rejects challenge, Kansas City Star, Jonathan Shorman & Dion Lefler, August 23, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- Kansas GOP lawmakers’ silence on whether they support Kobach angers some within party, Kansas City Star, Hunter Woodall, September 11, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- Public Policy Polling (D), Public Policy Polling, September 13, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- Former GOP U.S. senator, Senate president among those choosing Kelly over Kobach, Kansas City Star, Hunter Woodall, September 13, 2018.
- GOP stalwart Nancy Kassebaum picks Democrat Laura Kelly over Kris Kobach], Kansas City Star, Hunter Woodall, September 18, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
- Carpenter, Tim. "Businessman Greg Orman officially launching independent campaign for Kansas governor". The Topeka Capital Journal. Retrieved 2018-02-09.