Judges Rule Kansas Dems Can Leave Senate Slot Open
October 1, 2014

A three judge panel has rejected a bid to force Kansas democrats to name another US Senate candidate.
A Kansas City man who claimed to be a long-time Democrat said he was being deprived of his right to vote for a Democrat in the Senate race and took the matter to court.
The Democrat’s original Senate candidate, Chad Taylor withdrew from the raced September 3.
His controversial withdrawal was upheld by the Kansas Supreme Court. That ruling triggered KCK resident David Orel’s lawsuit. The court heard the case Monday. It ruled today because the state is on the verge of printing the November ballots.
The case is politically significant because three-term incumbent Republican Pat Roberts is trailing independent candidate Greg Orman, according to the latest poll (see previous post). Roberts tough reelection fight is drawing national attention. The Republican bid to gain six seat and take control of the Senate is being compounded by Roberts’ vulnerability with voters.
Orel’s lawyers maintained state law required the state party to nominate another candidate after Taylor’s withdrawal. The state law says a vacancy on a ticket after the primary “shall be filled by the party committee”.
The Court ruled that the word “shall”, does not command the Kansas Democrats to name another nominee.
“’Shall’, as used in KSA 25-39059(a) carries a limited reference to the who and how of filling such vacancies, not a mandate to do so,” the judges wrote in their opinion.
The judges also noted there are no penalties or method of enforcing the law on the Kansas books.
The judges wrote the Kansas democratic party had the right to decide if it wanted to fill the slot on the ballot or not, given that offering up a brand new candidate just weeks before the election, “would be faced with a very restricted window to successfully advance his or her views.”
The AP reports that the plaintiff, Orel, is not likely to appeal the ruling.