Defiant after being steamrolled by a Kansas Supreme Court ruling, Kris Kobach has doubled down on his bid to protect the U.S. Senate seat of fellow Republican Pat Roberts.
The politically partisan actions of the secretary of state are embarrassing Kansas nationally. The eyes of the country are on the state, because its Senate race could determine which political party controls that chamber starting in 2015.
The two developments:
▪ On Thursday, the Kansas court ruled that Kobach did not have the legal right to keep the name of Democrat Chad Taylor on the November ballot.
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Kobach had wanted to do that to help Roberts, who is locked in a tight race against independent Greg Orman. With Taylor on the ballot, the anti-Roberts votes would have been split up.
But the court rejected Kobach’s adamant contention that Taylor had improperly withdrawn from the race. The justices logically noted that Taylor had pointed to a state statute that allowed him to take his name off the ballot.
So Taylor and, by extension, Orman won with that Supreme Court ruling. Roberts and Kobach lost.
▪ Fresh off that defeat, Kobach then ordered the Democratic Party to nominate someone to replace Taylor on the ballot.
The secretary of state even went a step further, deciding on his own that the ballots for the state would not be printed for at least another week.
That was in direct opposition to what Kobach and his supporters had told the court — that the decision on Taylor’s nomination had to be made by this weekend because the ballots had to be printed so early ones could be sent to troops overseas, as required by federal law.
Kobach claimed he had the power to tell the Democratic Party what to do with its potential Senate candidate and to prevent the orderly printing of the ballots.
Democratic officials aren’t likely to do Kobach’s bidding. If he follows through with any kind of threatened court actions, that presumably could prevent ballots from being printed into October.
That would be a travesty, especially coming from someone who is charged with protecting the rights of Kansans to vote.
Kobach’s actions could lead — let’s hope — to the end of his reign in that office in his November race against Democrat Jean Schodorf.