WICHITA, Kan. — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach rained on the parade of those hoping to unseat Republican Sen. Pat Roberts with an announcement Thursday that the Democratic nominee, Chad Taylor, must remain on the November ballot.
Kobach said that while Taylor filed paperwork on Wednesday to drop out of the race, he did not declare that he is incapable of serving, which is required under Kansas law.
“The law is the law,” Kobach said at Thursday’s press conference, adding that he had “no choice” but to put Taylor back on the ballot.
Ironically, Democrats were excited by Taylor’s announcement which would Roberts up directly against Olathe businessman Greg Orman, an well-financed independent who many in the state think has a better chance than Taylor of unseating Roberts, who is seeking his fourth term.
Orman has not stated which party he would caucus with if elected, but he did run as a Democrat against Roberts in 2008 but dropped after citing a failure to agree with the party over certain issues.
Roberts’ campaign slammed Taylor’s decision on Wednesday, saying that it was planned and implying that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was behind the move. While no direct ties to Reid have been uncovered, Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri did speak to Taylor recently and urged him to drop from the race.
Before Kobach’s announcement, Taylor released a statement in which he said that he was directly told by an elections department official at the Kansas Secretary of State’s office that the paperwork he filled out was sufficient to take him off the ballot.
Reached by phone, Bryant said that he had heard that Taylor made that claim but said that he could not speak directly on the issue. A spokeswoman for the Secretary of State said that she was unable to comment on it either.
The candidates are slated to debate at the Kansas State Fair on Saturday, though it is unclear if Taylor will attend.