In a surprise move, the Democrat Party’s nominee for U.S. Senate in Kansas, Chad Taylor, announced he would be terminating his campaign for the seat currently held by long-time Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts. Taylor’s campaign has been unable pose a serious threat, as indicated by RealClearPolitics polling.
However, in what may be a major blow to the Democrat Party strategy, Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach denied Taylor’s request to be removed from the November ballot. This makes Roberts’ re-election chances almost certain.
The Hill reports that Kobach and his legal team say Taylor has provided insufficient “evidence he would be incapable of fulfilling the duties of office if elected.” They cite a Kansas election law statute, “no person who has been nominated by any means for any national, state, county or township office may” be removed from the ballot unless unable to fulfill their elected duties.
Analysts speculated that the motivation for the last-minute termination of the Taylor campaign was a tactical move to pull Democrat voters behind the juggernaut campaign of Independent candidate Greg Orman who was out-polling Taylor.
The belief is that with Taylor off of the ballot, Democrat votes would go to Orman and catapult him to victory over Roberts, a likelihood which was confirmed by polling: a Public Policy Polling survey showed Orman leading Roberts 43-33 if the race included just the two of them.
Now with multiple candidates remaining on the ballot, the anti-Roberts vote will be split, thus making it likely that Roberts will receive a plurality of votes to maintain his seat in the Senate. If Republicans take control of the Senate by a one-seat margin, they may have Secretary Kobach and Kansas election law to thank for it.