Fox Poll: Roberts & Davis Lead in Kansas
September 17, 2014

Fox Poll of likely Kansas Voters:
R-Pat Roberts. 40%
I-Greg Orman. 38%
D-Chad Taylor. 11%
Randall Baston. 2%

D-Paul Davis 45%
R-Sam Brownback. 41%

Orman & Davis Continue to Hold Leads in 3P Kansas Poll
September 16, 2014

Here’s the hard numbers for the 3P polling in Kansas
US Senate:
Orman (I) 41%
Roberts (GOP) 34%
Taylor (D) 6%
Batson (L) 4%

Without Taylor:
Orman 46%
Roberts 36%
Not Sure 17%

Ks Gov.
Davis (D) 42%
Brownback (GOP). 39%
Umbehr (L) 7%
Undecided 14%

Head to Head:
Davis 45%
Brownback. 39%
Not sure 15%


Taylor Takes Ballot Fight to Kansas Supremes
September 16, 2014

(AP) – Several Kansas Supreme Court justices expressed skepticism Tuesday about a Republican official’s decision to keep the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate on the ballot against his wishes as they reviewed a legal dispute that could affect the national fight for control of the Senate.

During arguments before the court, justices focused on whether a formal letter from Democrat Chad Taylor to withdraw from the race required Secretary of State Kris Kobach to remove Taylor’s name from the Nov. 4 ballot. Some Democrats nudged Taylor out of the race because they see independent candidate Greg Orman as the stronger rival to three-term Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts.

“The letter is what it is,” Justice Dan Biles said from the bench. “If, as a matter of law, the letter complies with the statute, he (Kobach) has no discretion.”

The Democrat’s withdrawal thrust the Senate race into the national spotlight. Republicans hope to recapture a Senate majority and they’ve always counted on Roberts winning re-election in his GOP-leaning state. Some Democrats believe an Orman victory could deny the GOP a majority in a close national election.

Roberts, 78, has looked vulnerable since a tough GOP primary race against a tea party challenger. Orman, a 45-year-old businessman and co-founder of a private equity firm, raised more in contributions and was more visible on television than Democrat Taylor, the Topeka-area district attorney.

Kobach, who serves on Roberts’ honorary campaign committee with other prominent Republicans, ruled that Taylor’s name had to remain on the ballot because the candidate didn’t meet the requirements of state law in withdrawing. Keeping Taylor’s name on the ballot could split the anti-Roberts vote and allow the incumbent to win more easily.

A state election law says nominees’ names can be removed from the ballot if they die or declare they’re incapable of fulfilling the duties of office. Taylor’s letter said he wanted to withdraw “pursuant to” the law, but he has not given a reason why he can’t serve. Taylor attended the hearing but declined to comment.

Taylor petitioned the court to overturn Kobach’s decision. The court is expected to rule quickly, because county officials must begin mailing ballots Saturday to overseas military personnel.

But a court decision may not be the end of the legal dispute.

Kobach argues that even if he’s forced to remove Taylor’s name from the ballot, Democrats are obligated under state law to find another nominee. The court did not address that issue during the arguments.

Kobach said after the the hearing that he’s ready to file his own state Supreme Court petition if Taylor is off the ballot and Democratic leaders won’t name a new candidate.

“If I ignore the law and don’t enforce it because, hey, it’d be easier for my own campaign, then I would be a raw political hack,” said Kobach, who’s also running for re-election this year.

State Democratic Party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon said she doesn’t expect the party to name a new candidate so close to when ballots must be printed.

“I just don’t see how it’s physically possible,” she said.

Pedro Irigonegaray, a Topeka attorney representing Taylor, said during the arguments on Tuesday that citing the law was enough to declare that someone is unable to serve. Eddie Greim, a Kansas City, Missouri attorney representing Kobach, argued that the candidate has to say specifically in writing that he or she is incapable of serving.

But Justice Carol Beier asked why citing the law wasn’t the same as declaring an inability to serve.

“Is there any other acceptable reason under the statute?” she said.

Four justices – a majority for the seven member court – were appointed by former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, including Beier and Biles. Two others were appointed by Sebelius’ predecessor, former moderate GOP Gov. Bill Graves. The seventh spot is open because conservative Gov. Sam Brownback’s first appointee won’t be sworn in until December, and a retired district judge is sitting with the court.

Kansas Supreme Court Sets Senate Withdrawal Hearing As Account Evolves
September 12, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is attacking a key argument made by the Democratic candidate waging a legal battle to get his name removed from the ballot in the U.S. Senate race.

Kobach on Thursday released an affidavit from Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brad Bryant contradicting a sworn statement from Democrat Chad Taylor.

Kobach provided a copy of Bryant’s statement exclusively to The Associated Press before posting it online and said it would be key evidence.

Taylor submitted his statement to the Kansas Supreme Court in petitioning it to force Kobach to remove his name from the ballot.

Taylor said Bryant assured him that a withdrawal letter Taylor wrote was sufficient to get his name off the ballot. In his statement, Bryant said he never did so.

Meanwhile, The Kansas State Supreme Court agreed to take up the case. The state High Court announced. Thursday it would hold a hearing next Tuesday.

Taylor abruptly withdrew from the Kansas US Senate campaign last week. He said keeping his name on the ballot, even though he ‘ snit really running, could confuse some voters.

Three term Republican incumbent still has opposition from Independent candidate Greg Orman.

Kobach Elections Chief Counters Taylor’s Withdrawal Version
September 11, 2014

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Thursday attacked a key argument made by the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in petitioning the state Supreme Court to remove his name from the ballot.

Democrat Chad Taylor’s withdrawal from the race potentially improves the chances of independent candidate Greg Orman defeating three-term Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. The national GOP has counted on Roberts winning re-election as it fights for control of the Senate, and some Democrats nudged Taylor out of the race.

If Taylor remains on the ballot, he could pick up anti-Roberts votes and possibly cost Orman a tight election.

Taylor ended his campaign last week. But Kobach, a conservative Republican backing Roberts, ruled as the state’s chief elections official that Taylor did not comply with a state law limiting when nominees can withdraw. Taylor went to the Kansas Supreme Court this week and said he’d been assured by Brad Bryant, the deputy assistant secretary of state who runs the elections division in Kobach’s office, that a letter Taylor wrote withdrawing was sufficient to get his name off the ballot.

But Bryant said in a signed, notarized statement that he did not make such a statement. Kobach released a copy of the affidavit exclusively to The Associated Press on Thursday before posting it on his website and said it would be filed after the Supreme Court determines whether it or a lower court will consider Taylor’s petition.

Bryant said in his statement that the only time Taylor raised the issue was after submitting the letter and asking whether his name would be removed from the ballot. Bryant said he “gestured that the answer was uncertain.”

“Further, I at no time affirmed or stated to Mr. Taylor that his letter contained all the necessary information to comply,” Bryant said.

Pedro Irigionegaray, a Topeka attorney representing Taylor, said he could not comment on Bryant’s affidavit because he had not seen it.

Taylor has submitted his own affidavit in which he said he asked Bryant directly beforehand whether the letter was sufficient and, “Mr. Bryant said ‘yes,’ confirming to me that the letter to me was sufficient to withdraw my name from the ballot.”

A state election law allows nominees’ names to be removed from the ballot only if they die or declare in writing that they are incapable of serving. Taylor cited the law in his withdrawal letter but has never said exactly why he is dropping out.