It’s another stunning twist in the race over the past two days. When Democratic nominee Chad Taylor withdrew his name — albeit with little explanation — on Wednesday, it was viewed as a potential boon for Democrats in their quest to keep a Senate majority. It would have paved the way for independent candidate Greg Orman to mount a head-to-head challenge against incumbent U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican.
But Kobach told reporters Thursday that after review, he determined Taylor did not meet Kansas law’s requirements to withdraw from the race. Kansas law states that “no person who has been nominated by any means for any national, state, county or township office may” withdraw unless they declare they are “incapable of fulfilling the duties of office if elected” or in case of the death of a candidate.
Kobach said Taylor did not meet those qualifications.
“We now have no choice to keep his name on the ballot,” he told reporters Thursday.
Taylor and Orman’s campaigns didn’t immediately respond to request for comment about the news. One national Republican operative familiar with the race said the decision was to be expected.
“Secretary of State follows law, dog bites man,” the operative said.
Taylor’s withdrawal could have meant Roberts would a far more daunting path to re-election — and his campaign was furious Wednesday night. After Taylor dropped out, the Roberts campaign issued a statement that accused Orman and Democrats of entering into a “corrupt bargain” to retain the Senate majority.
“Chad Taylor’s withdrawal from the U.S. Senate race reveals a corrupt bargain between Greg Orman and national Democrats including Senator Harry Reid that disenfranchises Kansas Democrats,” said Leroy Towns, Roberts’ executive campaign manager. “It makes clear what has been obvious from the start: Orman is the choice of liberal Democrats, and he can no longer hide behind an independent smokescreen.”
Now with Taylor remaining on the ballot — even if he chooses not to campaign — he could siphon off votes from Orman and provide a clearer path to victory for Roberts.
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