Democrat Sues To Get Off Ballot

By John Celock

The Democratic nominee in Kansas’ U.S. Senate race is going to court in an effort to remove his name from the ballot.

Democrat Chad Taylor, the Shawnee County district attorney, filed a lawsuit in Kansas Supreme Court Tuesday challenging Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s (R) decision not to remove Taylor’s name from the ballot. Taylor had withdrew from the race on Sept. 3 but on Sept. 4, Kobach ruled that Taylor could not leave the ballot because he did not follow a state law saying he was “incapable” of serving in the Senate.

Taylor’s withdrawal from the race against Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts and independent Greg Orman has sent shockwaves through Kansas politics, with a head to head match between Roberts and Orman making the race more competitive. Democrats have charged that Kobach wanted to keep Taylor on the ballot to help Roberts.

In his lawsuit, Taylor said that he consulted with two of Kobach’s aides, state elections director Brad Bryant and Bryan Caskey, who said that the letter filed by Taylor met state law. Taylor, along with his campaign manager, Brandon Naylor, submitted affidavits saying that Bryant had signed off on the letter. Kansas Democratic Party executive director Jason Perkey said that Caskey confirmed to him that the letter contained the needed information. Taylor also cited an Associated Press report that said that the secretary of state’s office briefly took Taylor’s name off the candidate list on the office’s website.

During a press conference last week, Kobach said that he had spoken to Bryant and Bryant denied telling Taylor that the letter was in order.

Taylor’s lawsuit notes that his letter said he was withdrawing based on the state law, citing the specific law. He argues that by citing the law, he was stating that was providing a reason for withdrawing “namely, that he is incapable of fulfilling the duties of office if elected.”

Taylor also argues that state voters would be denied a regular election since he has indicated that he does not want to be a candidate but would remain on the ballot. He also argues that Kobach’s position on Roberts’ honorary campaign committee has influenced the secretary of state’s position and he is acting in a partisan role in making the decision.

Kobach argued last week that he was acting within the law and that he made the decision after consulting with his own legal staff and with Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R). He also said that he did consult with GOP officials before making the decision. Kobach also cited his own experience as a constitutional law professor and noted that Taylor should have understood the law.

Taylor in his court filing said that he did read the law and that his belief was that he was in compliance.

Kansas Republican Party Chairman Kelly Arnold issued a press release prior to Taylor’s filing saying that he wanted Taylor to answer, under oath, as part of the lawsuit. Among these were why Taylor believes he was incapable to be a senator, when he believed this and does he believe that he is capable to serve as district attorney.

Arnold issued a statement saying that Taylor did not receive consent from Kobach’s staff. He predicted that Kobach would prevail. He also attacked the work U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) did in pressing Taylor to drop out of the Senate race. McCaskill has also attacked Kobach’s decision.

“The circumstances surrounding this withdraw stink of secret deals and pressure from national Democrat power brokers like Claire McCaskill of Missouri,” Arnold said int he statement. “We have confidence that the Kansas Supreme Court will do what is right and deny the request. The clear standard is that the candidate must be incapable of performing the duties of the office if elected, not that they cannot win or no longer want to run for office.”

Kobach has indicated that he believes the court will uphold his original ruling.

“The statute is clear and Mr. Taylor failed to follow it’s unambiguous requirements,” Kobach’s office said in a statement Tuessday night. “This should be a straight-forward case of statutory interpretation, and the Secretary looks forward to making his case in court.”

Editor’s Note: In his affidavit, Kansas Democratic Party executive director Jason Perkey, cites tweets from John Celock regarding Taylor’s withdrawal and a copy of his letter to Kobach. 10660761_10154612037160287_550237933_n