A new challenge to Kansas Democrats came from a lawsuit filed to try to force them to appoint someone to the Senate ballot.
A Kansas City, Kan., resident, David Orel, has filed with the Kansas Supreme Court to force the state Democratic Party to name a replacement for Chad Taylor, the U.S. Senate candidate who dropped out of the race.
Taylor was the Democratic candidate challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. A third candidate in the contest is independent Greg Orman. The contest is considered important by some national analysts, and might possibly tip the balance of the Senate toward either Republicans or Democrats.
Orel is a Democrat whose son works for Gov. Sam Brownback’s campaign, according to news reports.
His petition to the court stated that the secretary of state’s office is close to the deadline for printing the ballots. His court document also says that Democrats have stated that they have “no intention of naming a replacement candidate unless they are directly ordered to do so by this court.”
The petition maintains that it is Kansas law that a replacement candidate must be appointed by the party.
The state Democratic Party office had no new comments on the issue today, except to refer to a statement posted online previously by party chair Joan Wagnon. Her statement applauded the court for ordering the secretary of state to take Taylor’s name off the ballot, but it did not discuss appointing another candidate to the position. “I applaud the Kansas Supreme Court decision to follow the law and stop Kris Kobach from undermining Kansas democracy,” Wagnon said in her statement.
The Supreme Court on Sept. 18 held that Taylor’s withdrawal letter met the requirements of the state law. It contained a reference to a statute, which was held to be within the requirements of the law. The court stated that the secretary of state had no discretion to refuse to remove Taylor’s name, and must do so.
Mark Gilstrap, Wyandotte County GOP chairman, said it’s a good question whether the Senate seat is a crucial race or not, and the way people are acting, and with the money pouring into this contest, a lot of them must think it is. “It’s getting extremely political,” he said.
He supported the general Republican view in this particular case and said, “You run real hard, you win or lose, you go on to the general election. That’s the way it should be.”
Gilstrap thinks it is possible that no Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate position may hurt the Democratic turnout in Wyandotte County for the other races on the ballot.
Calls to three Wyandotte County Democratic sources were not returned by the deadline for this story. Another Democratic candidate did not want to comment about a race that was not her own, a spokesman said.
More information about the U.S. Senate seat and Taylor vs. Kobach case is online at the Kansas Supreme Court website at http://www.kscourts.org/Chad_Taylor_v_Kris_Kobach/default.asp and http://intranet.kscourts.org:7780/pls/ar/CLERKS_OFFICE.list_case_detail?i_case_number=112487&i_case_name=.