Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach jumped Wednesday into a lawsuit filed by a disgruntled voter seeking to force Kansas Democrats to name a new U.S. Senate nominee in hopes of speeding the resolution of a legal dispute shadowing a race with possible national implications. Kobach filed a motion to intervene in Shawnee County District Court and a request for a decision by Oct. 1, saying quick action is necessary so ballots can be printed in time for people to begin voting in advance on Oct. 15. Kobach, like the voter, argues that a state election law requires Democrats to replace ex-nominee Chad Taylor, who earlier this month dropped out of the race against three-term Republican Sen. Pat Roberts.
Some Democrats pushed Taylor out, seeing independent candidate Greg Orman as the stronger rival for Roberts – and they don’t want a new nominee, fearing a major split of the anti-Roberts vote. Many Republicans are pushing for a new Democratic candidate to increase the chances of Roberts holding the seat and the GOP recapturing a Senate majority.
The voter who sued the Kansas Democratic Party and three top officials is David Orel, 57, of Kansas City, Kansas. His son works for the re-election campaign of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback who, like Kobach, serves on Roberts’ honorary campaign committee. But the elder Orel has been a registered Democrat at least since 1999 and voted in the Democratic primary this year, voter registration records show.