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KS Court: Dems Don't Need to Replace Taylor

Joan Wagnon - smallKansas Democratic Party Chair Joan Wagnon. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)A Shawnee County court says Democrats don't have to name a new candidate for the U.S. Senate to appear on the Kansas ballot. In its ruling today (WED), the court said the party could choose a replacement for Chad Taylor but didn't have to do so.

Taylor dropped out of the race last month and his name has been removed from the ballot, leaving no Democrat to challenge incumbent Republican Pat Roberts.

Kansas Democratic Party Chair Joan Wagnon defended the party’s decision not to appoint a new candidate.


"For us to have done anything would have just confused the point and it would have created more of a problem. So, no, I did not really have any kind of an option to do anything other than what we did," says Wagnon.

Attorneys for a Kansas City, Kansas man who filed suit argued that state law required Democrats to name a replacement.

Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach doesn’t agree with the ruling, but has instructed election officials to start printing ballots without a Democratic candidate. The decision means the ballot for U.S. Senate will include Republican Pat Roberts, independent Greg Orman and Libertarian Randall Batson.

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(VERSION TWO)

A Shawnee County court says Democrats are not required to name a new candidate for the U.S. Senate to appear on the Kansas ballot. In a ruling, the court says the party could choose a replacement for Chad Taylor but does not have to do so. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports.


(SCRIPT)

Taylor dropping out left no Democrat on the ballot to challenge incumbent Republican Pat Roberts. Kansas Democratic Party Chair Joan Wagnon defended last month’s decision not to appoint a new candidate, saying it was because there was ongoing legal action and uncertainty.

"And it would have created more of a problem. So, no, I did not really have any kind of an option to do anything other than what we did," says Wagnon.

Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach has instructed election officials to start printing ballots without a Democratic candidate. But Kobach and others argued that the law requires Democrats to appoint a new candidate.

“How can you read the word ‘shall’ and say ‘ah, I think shall means may’? That’s absolutely contrary to the meaning of the Legislature, and I think you’ll find many legislators who say ‘the court just butchered our statute,’” says Kobach.

The decision means the ballot for U.S. Senate in Kansas will include Republican Pat Roberts, independent Greg Orman and Libertarian Randall Batson.

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