As midterm elections loom large, Kansas Democrat Senate candidate Chad Taylor, a district attorney, informed the Kansas Secretary of State he was ending his campaign as of Wednesday.
Democrats are struggling to maintain control of the U.S. Senate as Pres. Barack Obama’s poll numbers create an increasing drag on campaigns. Three-term Sen. Pat Roberts, Olathe businessman Greg Orman and Libertarian candidate Randall Batson of Wichita are now in a three-way battle for the Kansas seat.
While Orman has been endorsed by scores of Republicans, it is not clear whether he would caucus with them for Democrats. Polls show Orman leading Roberts in a head-to-head race and losing to him in a race that included Taylor.
The Kansas Democrat did not give a reason for dropping out of the race opting instead to issue a statement saying he made the decision after consulting with his staff, supporters and Democratic Party leaders.
Taylor’s decision to quit jumbles the Kansas contest and to a lesser extent the midterm Senate elections. If all three candidates were in the race, 32 percent of voters picked Roberts, 25 percent picked Taylor and 23 percent picked Orman, according to the most recent Public Policy polling.
Already rumors are circulating that have the Democratic Party pulling their losing candidate in hopes that Democrats will coalesce behind the Independent. However, Orman could be a wild card for either party as he is uncommitted the Democratic or Republican parties. A reformed Democrat, Orman says he will caucus with whichever party wins control of the Senate.
Meanwhile, incumbents are hard to beat and the race is likely to remain close; the only thing for sure now is that Democrats will not take that seat from Republicans. While Orman was in third place prior to the Democrat’s resignation, he was close behind Taylor.
If more liberals show up to vote for Orman than conservatives for Roberts, the Kansas race could affect Republican's chances of gaining control of the U.S. Senate. Conversely, without a Democrat in the race, Republicans could gain a seat or perhaps an Independent who would caucus with them.