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Kansas Democrats have egg on their face after election gambit falls apart

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

It seems that Democrats in Kansas have proven themselves to be too clever by half and have managed to pull defeat out of the jaws of a possible victory over incumbent Senator Pat Roberts, a Republicans. Hot Air explained on Thursday that it involved having the Democratic senatorial candidate withdraw from the race in favor of a candidate who was running as an independent and had a better chance of beating Roberts, thus complicating the GOP’s goal of retaking the Senate. But there was a fly in the ointment called Kansas election law.

The result was that the Democrat, Chad Taylor, stays on the ballot whether he wants to or not, reports the Wall Street Journal’s Reid Epstein. More importantly, by trying to remove Taylor and swing support to independent Greg Orman, Kansas Democrats have gotten egg on their face. They have tried a sordid, tawdry political maneuver and have failed to pull it off. Orman, who may caucus with the Democrats were he to be elected, will still split the anti-Roberts vote.

The problem, was Kansas election law states that once a candidate has been nominated by a major party, he or she has to stay on the ballot baring “special circumstances.” Those include death, illness, or inability to carry out the duties of office. They do now include really wanting to defeat Pat Roberts so that the Senate can remain in the clammy grip of Harry Reid.

The irony is that Roberts was considered to be in trouble and might have been defeated absent this comic opera maneuver. As it is, the whole unseemly affair has tainted the Democratic brand in Kansas. With Taylor having to stay on the ballot, Democrats don’t have a clear path to knocking off Roberts. Orman is likely soiled as well, at least by association.