Elections

AG Derek Schmidt files brief in support of case to force Democrats to field Senate candidate

Attorney General Derek Schmidt has filed a brief in support of a Kansas City-area Democrat’s attempt to force the Kansas Democratic Party to field a candidate in the race for U.S. Senate.

Schmidt called on the Shawnee County District Court to act quickly so the case can be decided before the Nov. 4 general election.

David Orel, a resident of Kansas City, Kan., who has been a registered Democrat since 1999, sued the Kansas Democratic Party following the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision to allow Democrat Chad Taylor to come off the ballot in the U.S. Senate race.

Orel, whose son works on Gov. Sam Brownback’s re-election campaign, argues that it violates his rights to allow the election to proceed without a Democratic candidate.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has also filed a motion in the case, ordered overseas ballots sent out with a disclaimer last week pending a decision in the Orel case.

The case hinges on the interpretation of a statute that says when a ballot vacancy occurs after the primary it shall be filled by the party committee. Kobach and Schmidt both argue that means Democrats must appoint a replacement.

“The State has a strong interest in having its laws interpreted correctly and as the Legislature intended,” Schmidt states in his brief.

The Democratic Party has declined to respond to repeated requests for comments on the case, which has been referred to the district court of Shawnee County.

The absence of a Democrat in the race is seen as a boost to independent Greg Orman against U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, the incumbent Republican.

Reach Bryan Lowry at 785-296-3006 or blowry@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BryanLowry3.

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