Speed Reads

Not in Kansas Anymore

Kansas Democrat wins fight to get taken off the ballot in Senate race

In a very odd kind of victory for Democrats, U.S. Senate nominee Chad Taylor of Kansas has just won a unanimous decision from the state Supreme Court — to have his name taken off the ballot.

The underfunded Taylor dropped out of the race two weeks ago, and filed a notice to have his name taken off the ballot — thus potentially clearing the way for Independent candidate Greg Orman to have a clear shot at defeating incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. However, Kansas Secreatry of State Kris Kobach (R) then ruled that Taylor had to remain on the ballot. Kobach maintained that Taylor's filing did not use the precise legal language needed to withdraw — a direct statement that he was unable to serve in the office of senator — arguing that Taylor's filing had instead stated he was withdrawing pursuant to the statute.

Kobach's decision could have potentially helped Roberts win the election, since a number of Democratic voters could have picked Taylor if they did not know he had dropped out. Taylor then sued Kobach at the state Supreme Court. During oral arguments on Tuesday, the justices very pointedly inquired of Kobach's attorney as to why Kobach's office had accepted other candidates' withdrawal notices, even though they were either similar to Taylor's or otherwise did not meet Kobach's exact requirement.

Today's court order for Taylor to be removed from the ballot likely provides an immediate boost to Greg Orman. In a Fox News poll released yesterday, Roberts edged out Orman by 2 points, 40 percent to 38 percent — plus 11 percent for Taylor. The same poll, however, also found that Orman would leapfrog ahead of Roberts in a two-way race, 48 percent to 42 percent.

Update: Kobach now says he has informed the Kansas Democratic Party that they have eight days to select a replacement nominee, The Wichita Eagle reports. Kobach has previously maintained that if Taylor dropped out, the Democrats would still be required to select a replacement — but it is not exactly clear what action he could take if they simply refuse to do so, now that he has been ordered to remove Taylor's name.