Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has instructed county election officials to mail overseas election ballots without listing a Democratic candidate for Senate, his office confirmed Friday to CQ Roll Call.
Kobach's decision concludes a Kansas Senate race saga that has dragged on for several weeks, starting when Democratic nominee Chad Taylor ended his campaign earlier this month. The result is a massive boost for independent Greg Orman, a strong fundraiser who has polled competitively against Sen. Pat Roberts. Initially, Kobach said Taylor would remain on the ballot because he had not met the standards required by law to withdraw from the race. Taylor went to court to get his name off the ballot, and on Thursday, the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled that his name would not appear.
Overseas ballots are slated to be mailed Saturday, but Kobach said he would delay that for a week so the Democratic Party could pick a replacement nominee — something the party did not appear inclined to do.
But on Friday, Kobach appeared to relent, and officials were sent instructions to mail their ballots.
That means the Senate race will basically be a head-to-head matchup between Orman and Roberts, which makes Roberts' path to re-election much more difficult. Libertarian candidate Randall Batson will also be on the ballot.
Republicans need to win a net of six seats to take control of the Senate, and they cannot afford to lose one of the seats they already hold.
The race is rated Tilts Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
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