Kris Kobach can’t keep Chad Taylor’s name on the November ballot, court rules

Kris Kobach’s effort to put an empty candidate before voters in November failed on Thursday when the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that Chad Taylor can quit the Senate race if he wants to.

No Democrat will appear on the ballot when Kansans cast their votes for senator because Taylor, who won the Democratic primary and appeared ready to duke it out with Pat Roberts, suddenly decided to quit the race.

Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State, tried to hang Taylor on the ballot on what amounted to a technicality, but the state’s highest court didn’t buy Kobach’s reasoning. Nor did the Kansas Supreme Court say the Democrats had to foist another candidate on the ballot. (Justices also admonished Kobach for filing materials past the court’s deadline.)

Now the race for the U.S. Senate is squarely between Roberts and Olathe businessman Greg Orman. Various polls show a tight race for Roberts, who once figured to traipse to another Senate term but whose campaign has suffered misstep after misstep.

The court ruling is widely seen as another setback for Roberts; presumptive Taylor voters figure to side with Orman, who is running as an independent but who has close associations with Democrats. If you think Roberts isn’t concerned about this outcome, just read his statement issued after the court ruling:

“Today, the Kansas Supreme Court deliberately, and for political purposes, disenfranchised over 65,000 voters. In a bow to Senators Claire McCaskill and Harry Reid, liberal activist Supreme Court justices have decided that if you voted in the Democrat Primary on August 5th, your vote does not matter, your voice does not matter, and you have no say in who should be on the ballot on Election Day. This is not only a travesty to Kansas voters, but it’s a travesty to the judicial system and our electoral process.”

Politics cut both ways. It was difficult to see Kobach’s argument to keep Taylor on the ballot as anything but politically motivated.

But the verbiage of Roberts’ statement reflects his campaign’s rhetoric ever since Lee Atwater-esque Corry Bliss took over for the fledgling re-election effort. Between now and Election Day, Roberts will do what he can to make Orman indistinguishable from Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.

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