On life support: HHS's Kathleen Sebelius 17 points down in Kansas Senate race

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Obamacare,Kansas,2014 Elections,Campaigns,Kathleen Sebelius,Pat Roberts,HHS

When Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finally leaves Washington and returns home for a potential Senate challenge, the former governor is going to find out that she's not in her old Kansas anymore.

Not only is the state ruby red in the latest review by the University of Virginia's Center for Politics “Crystal Ball,” but a new poll has her losing in a blowout to incumbent Republican Pat Roberts.

Rasmussen Reports puts the race at 54 percent for Roberts and 37 percent for Sebelius, who recently announced her retirement. She's eyeing a Senate challenge.

“Kansas hasn't elected a Democratic senator since before the start of the New Deal,” Kyle Kondik, managing editor of the Crystal Ball weekly political review told Secrets. “There's no reason why it would do so in a year like this. Serving in the cabinet has taken a political toll on Kathleen Sebelius, just like it did on Janet Napolitano. These are two politically talented red-state Democrats whose elected careers probably ended when they left for the cabinet,” he added.

Republicans nationwide are planning to make her Obamacare problems a key to every race, and in Kansas it is especially troubling for any Democrat planning to challenge Roberts.

The poll found that Obamacare is even more unpopular in Kansas than it is nationally, with just 34 percent having a favorable opinion of the law.

Roberts, meanwhile, does have a Tea Party primary challenge but he's beating Chad Taylor by an even bigger margin than his 17 points over Sebelius, 50 percent to 32 percent.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at