Oops: Kansas Democrat who dropped out of Senate race forced to stay on the ballot

If you missed it this morning, read Ed’s post now. He called it hours in advance: Under Kansas law, you can’t just withdraw after the primary. The statute says you need to give a reason, be it death, illness, or a self-professed inability to fulfill the duties of the office. The dummy who dropped out and his legal team of even bigger dummies apparently missed that part, as his letter of withdrawal didn’t say why he was quitting.

Advantage: Republican Senate takeover.

Kobach said Kansas law requires that candidates who want to be removed from the ballot submit a formal letter and also declare themselves “incapable of fulfilling the duties of office if elected.”…

Taylor issued a statement saying that he had been assured by Assistant Secretary of State Brad Bryant that his letter was sufficient. Kobach denied that claim and also contended that Taylor should have read the statute himself.

“Mr. Taylor is an attorney. He is capable of reading the statute and the statute is very clear on this point,” Kobach said. “And I would note that many non-attorneys have withdrawn from office in the past and they have all read the statute and made that declaration.”

Can’t wait to see how that argument plays out in court: “The Assistant Secretary of State was as lazy and ignorant about the law as my own legal team was, your honor.” Frankly, I don’t understand why Taylor would be allowed to plead an inability to fulfill the duties of the office in the first place. That sounds like it’s in the law to address unusual dire circumstances apart from illness that might befall a candidate before the election, e.g., if his or her spouse fell ill and the candidate needed to care for them full time. Taylor’s not facing anything like that. He’s dropping out because he’s a loser who’s going to split the Democratic vote with the independent candidate, Greg Orman, in November, all but ensuring Pat Roberts’s reelection. There’s no “this guy’s a loser” withdrawal option under Kansas law, is there?

Incidentally, we’re not … really going to lose this seat, are we? I know the race is tight right now and presumably bound to get tighter if Taylor’s name is bumped off the ballot and Democrats consolidate behind Orman, but c’mon. It’s Kansas! They haven’t sent a non-Republican to the Senate since the 1930s. It’d be beyond bizarre if they bucked what’s bound to be a Republican trend in November to unseat a guy they’ve been electing for decades. The closeness of the race right now, I take it, is due mainly to conservative irritation that Roberts beat back his primary challenge from Milton Wolf. As we get closer to election day and Republicans start to taste the prospect of a Senate majority, they’ll rally. Right? Exit question: If I’m right that this is a slam dunk, how do you explain this?