Despite dropping out of the Kansas Senate race this week, Democrat Chad Taylor will remain on the ballot, Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach announced on Thursday.
Taylor’s name could draw votes from independent Greg Orman, who is locked in a competitive race with Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. Orman has not said which party he will caucus with if he wins, and national Democrats are hoping he might deliver them an unexpected seat in November amid an uphill battle to hold the Senate.
Kobach told reporters that candidates must declare they are “incapable” of serving if elected in order to withdraw their name from the ballot.
Kobach’s decision could spur a legal fight, however. Taylor said in a statement that he had specifically asked and had been explicitly told by Kobach’s office that he would be allowed to remove his name if he followed the procedures they laid out.
“Upon confirming that my letter would remove my name from the ballot, I presented identification, signed the notary ledger, and signed the letter before a secretary of state employee notarized it,” Taylor said. “My candidacy in this race was terminated yesterday.”
Democrats are especially skeptical of the ruling because of their history of tangling with the secretary of state on other issues. Kobach is known nationally for his advocacy for voter ID laws and tougher enforcement of immigration. He also serves on Roberts’ statewide campaign committee, according to the senator’s campaign site.