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Kansas rules Democrat can not quit Senate race

Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) (C) talks with committee raking member Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) (R) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) (L) before the start of a conference committee mark up hearing in the Lo
Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) (C) talks with committee raking member Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) (R) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) (L) before the start of a conference committee mark up hearing in the LoPhoto by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. Senate candidate Chad Taylor, the Kansas Democrat whom pulled out of the race Wednesday without notice, did so against the state’s electoral policy, which may be good news for Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts.

Taylor resigned Wednesday without notice after consultations with the Democratic Party, which if allowed could swing a significant number of votes to independent candidate Greg Orman, a former Democrat supporter running as an independent candidate.

On Thursday, Kansas election officials ruled that it was too late for a candidate to resign. Polls had Taylor and Orman running behind Roberts in a three-way race, but in a two-way contest Orman was beating Roberts, according to one poll.

At stake is the Democratic Party’s waning hold over the U.S. Senate. By taking Taylor out of the race, Democrats had a better chance of preventing Republicans from regaining control of the Senate because they need to net six seats to become the Senate majority.

Most polls show Democrats struggling mightily not just to retain their Senate seats but to not lose more than five of them to Republicans. Taylor's letter of withdrawal was not enough to remove him from the ballot, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican, told a news conference. In addition, Taylor failed to file a declaration stating that he would be incapable of fulfilling the duties of office if elected, according to Kobach. "This has nothing to do with the party, the law is the law," said Kobach.

For his part, Taylor, a Shawnee County's district attorney, released a statement saying he had consulted Kobach's office on the wording of his withdrawal letter and considered his candidacy terminated as of Wednesday.

Orman, a businessman, has bounced around political parties; registered as a Republican until about 15 years ago, he switched to supporting Democrats before considering running for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat in 2008. He later became an independent, according to his website. The state electoral board has ruled Chad Taylor's name will remain on the ballot for midterm elections.