The National Republican Senatorial Committee is is deploying veteran consultant Chris LaCivita to work for Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), a person familiar with the move told The Washington Post, the latest sign that Roberts is preparing up for a tougher than expected reelection campaign.

LaCivita, an NRSC consultant, will seek to help Roberts gear up for what could be a close race against independent candidate Greg Orman. The move was first reported by the New York Times.

Saddled by low approval ratings and still recovering from a bruising primary, Roberts's outlook became bleaker on Wednesday when Democrat Chad Taylor abruptly ended his bid. The move cleared the way for Orman to take Roberts on one-on-one.

Roberts has come under heavy criticism for paying rent to supporters to stay with them when he is in the state instead of living in his own home.