Secretary of State Kris Kobach announced last week that Democrat Chad Taylor’s name will remain on the ballot, despite Taylor’s formal withdrawal from the U.S. Senate race in Kansas. Kobach, who endorsed Sen. Pat Roberts in the primary, argued that Taylor failed to meet a requirement of Kansas law to declare he would be “incapable” of performing the job if elected.
“While there’s always a small risk of preferential interpretation in cases where the Secretary of State is of the same party as someone who could possibly benefit from the outcome, I feel that Kris Kobach’s decision to keep Taylor on the ballot is one that is accurate and in line with the statute,” Kyle Klucas, junior in political science, said. “Taylor failed to publicly declare he was incapable of fulfilling his post as democratic nominee, a key tenet of the law.”
The statute being referenced is KSA 25-306b(b), which states:
“Any person who has been nominated by any means for any national, state, county or township office who declares that they are incapable of fulfilling the duties of office if elected may cause such person’s name to be withdrawn from nomination by a request in writing, signed by the person and acknowledged before an officer qualified to take acknowledgments of deeds … ”
Attorney Doug Mataconis wrote in a Christian Science Monitor article entitled, “The Kansas Senate race is just getting weirder,” that he believes the decision has serious implications for the Senate race and could change the narrative of the midterms. Democrats hoped Taylor’s withdrawal would bolster support for Independent challenger Greg Orman.
Kansas may be instrumental in securing the Grand Old Party’s six Senate seats needed for a takeover. This is not lost on national Republicans and the National Senate Republican Committee, which took control of Robert’s campaign immediately following Taylor’s announcement. The Associated Press observed Tuesday that Robert’s campaign has been “retooled,” including appointment of new campaign manager Corry Bliss and the assistance of veteran political strategist Chris LaCivita.
Since the primary election, Orman has spent over $900,000 on television advertisement, while Roberts has not aired a single television commercial. This will certainly change.
“If he (Taylor) can’t get his name off the ballot, then splitting the ticket with Taylor is really going to determine how Orman’s campaign turns out,” Michael Mays, senior in political science and statistics, said.
It remains to be seen how significantly Taylor’s inclusion on the ballot would affect the Senate race, but according to kansas.com, Taylor filed a petition last Tuesday with the Kansas Supreme Court, challenging the decision. Following the filing of the petition, Kobach attempted to shift the case away from the Supreme Court to Shawnee County – the Supreme Court did decide to hear the case anyway.
According to kansascity.com, the court date has been set for 9 a.m. Tuesday.