Kan. Democrats Don't Have to Field a U.S. Senate Candidate: Court

By Brett Snider, Esq. on October 01, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Normally you expect candidates to petition to be included on a ballot, not fight in court to be taken off. Well wake up Dorothy, because you're in Kansas politics now -- and a state court has declined to force the Democratic Party to field a candidate for U.S. Senate on the November 4 ballot.

A three-judge panel announced Wednesday that a legal petition to force Kansas Democrats to put forward a replacement for ex-candidate Chad Taylor, who quit the race two weeks ago, was supported by zero evidence and lacked legal standing.

Why was this political issue before the state district court in Shawnee, Kansas, in the first place?

A Chance for Independents

This whole case makes more sense when you consider that Kansas Democrats would rather see an independent candidate in the U.S. Senate seat than a Republican. Reuters reports that Taylor withdrew from the race for Kansas' U.S. Senate seat, opposing incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, for "unexplained reasons." (The independent candidate, Greg Orman, is currently ahead in the polls.)

The Kansas Supreme Court allowed Taylor to remove his name from the ballot in September. But David Orel, a Kansas Democrat, sued the Kansas Democratic Party in an attempt to force them to replace Taylor with someone else. Orel then failed to show up for his own hearing on the issue.

Without any evidence as to why Orel had a legal interest in having a Democratic candidate on the ballot, the Kansas judicial panel denied his writ of mandamus -- an emergency legal petition. Assuming the decision below stands, the U.S. Senate race in Kansas will remain between a Republican (Pat Roberts) and an Independent (Greg Orman).

U.S. Senate Candidate Ruling - Shawnee District Court, Kansas

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