Last week, for reasons that may have been personal, or may have been political, Chad Taylor, the Democratic candidate running against Pat Roberts (R) for the US Senate from Kansas, dropped out of the race. The hue and cry from the extremists on the right was loud, for reasons that may have been altruistic, or may have been political.
But the ensuing week has been purely political.
You see, the race for US Senate in Kansas also includes an Independent, Greg Orman, who was polling well and looked to be a real threat to Roberts' incumbency. Without Taylor in the race, Orman polls even better. A Democrat splitting the vote with a strong Independent is in the best interests of a sitting Republican still smarting from a brutal Primary fight. No Democrat on the ballot is bad news for Pat Roberts. The Roberts camp is outraged that so many Kansas Democrats have been disenfranchised. (Though he didn't make that arguement in 2002, when he ran unopposed.)
That "outrage" resulted in legal action by, who else, Secretary of State Kris Kobach. (Kobach is an honorary chair of the Roberts campaign.) Kobach argued, as he always does, that his impartial position as Secretary of State requires him to investigate/stir any pot with political implications for Kansas elections/his Party's interests. In this case, he filed suit to force Chad Taylor to remain on the ballot, claiming his letter of withdrawal was not up to the standards of the statute in question.
This led to many jokes about the GOP working hard to keep a Dem on the ballot.
That suit was resolved this week, when the Kansas Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision indicating that Taylor is off the ballot, and that Kobach should just sit down. Among other reasons, it was found that Kobach's office had accepted other resignations via correspondence just as suspect as Taylor's. Why this particular letter should draw such personal attention from the Secretary of State has not been addressed.
But Kobach is not through yet.
Federal law (the MOVE Act) requires that ballots be completed and printed 45 days before an election, in order to reach overseas citizens and military personnel. That would be tomorrow (9/20/14), thus the rush on the Court's decision. But Kobach, once again flying the flag of impartiality, has decreed that he will delay this printing for one week, so that the Democratic Party can find another candidate to fill the ballot. He will flaunt Federal law (not something the extremists are unknown for, see: Lesser Prairie Chicken, Health Compact, Federal vs State proof-of-citizenship requirements) in order to achieve his goals. He says that the law only requires there be 45 days to count the ballots, suggesting there may be an eight day delay in certifying the election this Fall. The Kansas Democratic Party has not offered an opinion as to whether they will find anyone for the vacancy. (Suggestions include asking Milton Wolf if he'd do it.)
What can we take away from this situation?
Well, the motivations of everyone in this matter may have been political. Taylor polling badly, with Orman polling well if Taylor is gone, beating the right-running Roberts. Kobach hewing to the letter of the law when his party's interests were on the line, but not in other cases. The Kansas Dems demurely shrugging their shoulders at finding a replacement.
But if this mess is political, then we suggest a political solution.
Roberts vs Orman. Kobach vs Schodorf. Brownback vs Davis. These are all political races in the balance in this November 4 election.
Get informed. Get involved. Vote.