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Democrats May Keep Control Of The Senate By Not Having a Democratic Candidate In Kansas

Last updated on September 25th, 2023 at 01:38 pm

The shocking news that the Democratic Senate candidate in Kansas has dropped out to make way for an Independent candidate who has promised to caucus with Democrats means that the control of the Senate may hinge on the winner in Kansas.

Democratic candidate Chad Taylor told the Wichita Eagle that he was dropping out of the race, “After much consideration and prolonged discussion with my supporters, my staff, and party leadership at every level, I have decided to end my campaign for the United States Senate. I have great love for the state of Kansas and the people that live here. I will continue work in their best interest every day, but effective today, my campaign is terminated.”

Taylor’s departure has paved the way for Independent candidate Greg Orman to take on Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts. Orman has been running an Independent campaign that has been capturing momentum in the state. Seventy former Republican lawmakers have endorsed Orman. An August PPP poll of the state found that Orman leads Roberts 43%-33% in a head to head matchup.

Orman’s rise in the race is another aftershock caused by the civil war that Gov. Sam Brownback triggered within the Republican Party. Brownback led a purge of moderate Republicans from the state party in 2012. He led the charge to replace moderate Republicans with tea partiers, and the result has been a deeply divided Republican Party in the red state of Kansas.

The party is so divided that moderate Republicans in the state are supporting the Democrat for governor. Brownback may lose his reelection campaign and take Sen. Pat Roberts down with him. If Orman wins, he has promised to caucus with fellow Independents Bernie Sanders and Angus King. Both Sanders and King caucus with the Democrats. An added wrinkle is that Orman has also promised to vote to remove Harry Reid as Majority Leader.

A very weird scenario could play out where Democrats keep the Senate without having a Democrat candidate in the Kansas senate race. Republicans are having much more trouble than they expected with their attempt to win back the Senate. The last thing they needed was another red state incumbent fighting to keep a seat that they never thought they would need to fight for in November.

The paths to the Democrats maintaining their majority continue to expand. It’s clear that Democrats have a gameplan, but it may be a Republican civil war in Kansas that keeps Democrats in control of the Senate.

Jason Easley

Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements. Awards and  Professional Memberships Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association

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