Kansas Senate Race Murkier Than Ever

     TOPEKA, Kan. (CN) – A Kansas voter’s mandamus action demanding that the Democratic Party name a candidate for U.S. Senate on the November ballot has been transferred to state court.
     The Kansas Supreme Court on Tuesday transferred David Orel’s mandamus claim to Shawnee County Court.
     “Transfer is appropriate because Orel’s pleadings do not contain sworn evidence necessary to enable this court to make any of a myriad of legal determinations, including, but not limited to, ripeness, the nature of the parties, the existence of standing, and the propriety of adequacy of the mandamus relief requested,” Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss wrote for the court.
     The Kansas Supreme Court on Sept. 18 granted Chad Taylor’s request to have his name taken off the ballot as the Democratic candidate.
     The Supreme Court said Tuesday that Orel’s action differed from Taylor’s because Taylor’s case contained uncontroverted written communications that were attached as exhibits. It found that the exhibits enabled the court’s statutory interpretation.
     Taylor’s absence leaves Republican incumbent Pat Roberts more vulnerable against self-funded Independent Greg Orman. Some polls have shown that with Taylor out, Orman has surged ahead of Roberts.
     Taylor withdrew reportedly at the request of fellow state and national Democrats, who feared he would split the anti-Roberts vote with Orman, and that his run would be weakened for his reputation of not prosecuting domestic-abuse cases while acting as district attorney of Shawnee County.
     Immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Taylor to remove his name, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said state law required the Democratic Party to name a new candidate and extended the deadline to Sept. 26.
     Orel filed his mandamus request shortly after the state supreme court handed down its decision in the Taylor case.
     Orel, 57, from Kansas City, is described in court documents as “a registered Democrat who intends to vote for the Democratic Party’s candidate for the US Senate.”
     But The Wichita Eagle reported this week that Orel, who filed an amicus brief in support of Kobach in the earlier case, is the father of Alexander Orel, a regional field director for Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s re-election campaign.
     Thomas Haney, David Orel’s attorney, told the Guardian newspaper that he could not comment on Orel’s family connections to the Republican Party, citing client confidentiality.

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