Democrat Chad Taylor’s name won’t appear on the Kansas ballot for the U.S. Senate. The Kansas Supreme Court, dominated by Democratic appointees, ordered Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach Thursday to strike Taylor’s name from the Nov. 4 ballot. In its ruling, the court turned aside Kobach’s contention that Taylor’s Sept. 3 withdrawal letter failed to meet the standard set in state law. “The Secretary of State thus has no discretion to refuse to remove Chadwick J. Taylor’s name from the ballot,” the court said. Kobach, a Republican mired in his own tough re-election battle, had moved to keep Taylor’s name in front of voters on grounds that the Democrat had not specified that he would be legally “incapable” of serving in the Senate. Kobach was scheduled to meet with reporters late Thursday afternoon in Topeka to discuss the ruling.
Thursday’s decision ruling nudges forward the intriguing battle of campaign strategy that saw Republicans trying to keep a Democrat’s name on the Senate ballot — and Democrats trying to yank it off. The stakes are high. Incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is facing a tough challenge from independent Olathe businessman Greg Orman.
Recent polls have shown Taylor getting some voters in the state despite his decision to withdraw. The vote totals aren’t high enough to win — in the high single digits — but operatives in both parties said his place on the ballot could distort the results in a close race.
That distortion, they said, would generally help Roberts. Taylor’s removal from the ballot now allows anti-Roberts votes to coalesce around Orman, the most prominent alternative.