Everyone agrees that Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor withdrew from the U.S. Senate race in Kansas. The question is, did the Democrat do it the right way and say the right words? The Kansas Supreme Court began exploring that issue Tuesday as it weighed a request to remove Taylor from the ballot, a decision that could boost independent Greg Orman’s chances of unseating Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts. The country is watching the race because it could decide whether Republicans gain control of the Senate. The court has not said when it will deliver a decision. But a deadline for sending out ballots to overseas voters is Saturday.
A new poll out Tuesday morning showed Orman leading Roberts 41 to 34 percent, with 4 percent for Libertarian candidate Randall Batson. The Public Policy Polling survey showed Taylor drawing 6 percent of the vote, with 15 percent undecided. Conventional wisdom holds that Orman and Taylor are splitting the anti-incumbent, anti-Roberts vote and that the independent candidate would benefit most if the Democrat’s name were scrubbed from the ballot. Consequently, Republicans have mostly argued that Taylor must stay on the ballot.
The court considered Taylor’s request to be removed from the ballot in oral arguments Tuesday morning. Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach opposes the request, saying it wasn’t legally sufficient.
The case turns on whether Taylor’s letter withdrawing from the race complied with a 1997 law requiring candidates to declare they are “incapable” of serving if they’re elected. The law was passed with the intent of stopping candidates from abusing the political process by filing and then suddenly withdrawing.