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Politics, Elections and Government

Kobach, Taylor Take Ballot Battle to High Court


The battle over the U.S. Senate ballot was in full swing Wednesday, with the Republicans and Democrats duking it out in court even as national consultants and lawyers flew in to Kansas.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a supporter of GOP incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts, attacked Democrat Chad Taylor in a filing to the Kansas Supreme Court, stopping short of calling Taylor a liar, but calling for "fact-finding."

Kobach was defending his decision last week to keep Taylor on the November ballot as the Democratic candidate against Roberts. On Tuesday, Taylor challenged Kobach's decision, taking his claim to the Kansas Supreme Court, claiming Kobach is denying him his First Amendment rights by “conscripting him to run for office.”

Last week Taylor removed himself from the race, urged by Democrats to clear the way for the well-funded Independent Greg Orman who is gathering steam in his run against GOP incumbent Pat Roberts. The latest polls show Orman and Roberts in a dead heat.

Taylor, 40, the Shawnee County District Attorney, argued last week that his campaign was “terminated.” He also argued in his Supreme Court filing that leaving his name on the ballot will “cause confusion among Kansas voters," according to a separate court memo filed by his attorney, Pedro Irigonegaray.

Kobach shot back Wednesday, saying one of his employees remembers a "a very different conversation" than Taylor's claim that he sought advice on how to write his removal letter and followed the directions exactly.

"Therefore, fact-finding is required," Kobach wrote in his filing with the court.

The fact-finding should be done by a state district court because the higher court doesn't have jurisdiction, Kobach said.

Further, if the court sides with Taylor, Kobach argued that the Democratic Party must put up another candidate.

Either way, Kobach urged a speedy process, since he has to have the ballot finalized by Sept. 18 to satisfy federal law about sending ballots of U.S. Armed Forces members who are stationed overseas.

Meanwhile, the GOP sent two high-profile national consultants in to take over the Roberts' campaign, called a "mudslinging hit squad from Washington" by Orman spokesman Sam Edelen. The GOP is also  lining up high-profile Republicans like Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona.

“We’ve added to the campaign,” Roberts told Politico. “We’re going to be much more aggressive. We’re done with the primary, and we’re getting ready for the general.”

Helping Taylor fight to remove his name from the ballot, Democrats brought in Marc Elias, a lawyer who has represented a host of Democratic candidates, including Al Franken in the in the 2008 Senate election recount in Minnesota.

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