Independent Greg Orman says he could change parties even after he has allied himself with Democrats or Republicans if he wins the Kansas Senate election in November.
In an interview with NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell, Orman says he would initially caucus with whichever party has majority control in the Senate, because “it’s in the best interests of the voters of Kansas that they have a senator in the majority.”
But, he added, he wouldn’t limit himself to an alliance with one party over the other, especially if the Senate is evenly split.
“If four or five months goes by, and it's clear they're engaged in the same old partisan politics, we'll be able to change our allegiances and work with the other side,” he said. “And I think that's a really strong and important tool, to hold the Senate accountable for actually getting something done.”
Asked by O’Donnell if he can envision switching parties once he arrives in Washington, Orman responded that he “absolutely” can.
“Ultimately, this is about solving problems. This is about the voters of Kansas saying - the status quo doesn't work anymore,” he said.
If he wins the November election, Orman can keep the label of independent, but he must choose to caucus with one party to carry out the day-to-day duties -- like service on Senate committees -- that make senators effective as they seek to serve their constituents.
Orman has not indicated whether he is more ideologically aligned with Democrats or Republicans, telling NBC News that he voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and for Barack Obama in 2008.
He pointed to two female senators who have worked on bipartisan legislation -- Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski and North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp -- as his picks for Senate leaders.
And he said that his political philosophy revolves around being a "problem solver."
"Ultimately what I am is a fiscally responsible, and socially tolerant problem solver --who thinks that we need to solve our country's problems head on," he said. "That we can't keep ducking them. That we can't keep fighting in Washington as a way to confuse the electorate, and get the electorate to think that they're actually doing something when in reality they're getting nothing done."
A new NBC News/Marist poll out Sunday showed Orman leading Republican Sen. Pat Roberts by 10 points.