Taylor and Orman didn’t have to conspire

Politics in Kansas is usually as exciting as vanilla ice cream.

But thanks to the gravitational pull on the political pendulum, people are have become concerned about how far to the right Kansas Republicans have pushed their politics.

Recent polls show that voters are ready for something other than an ultra-conservative talking points spelling bee and candidates from multiple parties are not only being considered, but they are outpacing GOP incumbents with about 60 days left before the election.

One of those candidates was Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor who was running as a Democrat for Senate. After Republican Incumbent Pat Roberts was bloodied though not beaten by TEA Party Candidate Dr. Milton Wolf who claimed that Roberts was actually Virginia’s third Senator, Taylor and Independent Greg Orman both gained ground in polls. However, they were splitting the anti-Roberts vote.

Rather than stay in the race and pave the road to re-election for Roberts, who hasn’t lived in Kansas for about 15 years, Taylor decided to leave the race Wednesday.

Roberts handlers – who showed how tightly they can cling to minor issues by beating Dr. Wolf thanks to a few inappropriate Facebook posts – see a vast conspiracy.

Roberts campaign spokesman said this was a “corrupt bargain” and said voters would see through a “charade foisted on Kansas” by the other two candidates.

First, when your candidate is 80 years old, you probably don’t want to make references to the Presidential election of 1824 or people may wonder is Roberts voted for John Quincy Adams.

Also, no matter how old your candidate is, you should never use the word foisted in any press release.

All the Roberts campaign did is show that he is out of touch with Kansas demographically as well as politically and geographically. 

Kansas Republicans knew that splitting the vote was working in their favor and now they are freaking out at the possibility that all of the anti-Roberts voters may unite behind Olathe business owner Greg Orman. They are doing all they can to cast a shadow on Taylor’s decision to drop out.

But Taylor and Orman didn’t have to conspire. Both men entered the race with the goal of ousting Roberts. Both men could see that they were dividing the anti-Roberts voters and this was going to allow Roberts to win a three-way race.

Taylor getting out of the way was practical and reasonable considering he entered the race to beat Roberts. This was his best chance to do that.

Why are Republicans so afraid of taking on a third party candidate? Shouldn’t that make the election easier to win? Not necessarily.

Answer this question. If Orman loses in November, where will he live on April 1, 2015? Now answer the same question for Roberts.

Only one of these men is a Kansan and that could be a determining factor for many Kansans who head to the polls in November.

However, no one was more excited about Taylor dropping out than Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis. I have said for weeks that Davis would have to truly stumble for Sam Brownback to win re-election. Is using a commercial featuring a man convicted of soliciting sodomy in a public park the kind of thing that can slow momentum? It normally would be.

Normally, the news would be full of reports and questions about how the campaign found the man and why they chose him for the spot.

Thanks to Taylor’s announcement, the story got “oh, by the way” treatment Wednesday.

That commercial is proof that the “Democratic Machine” in Kansas is more of a front-loading washing machine than a space shuttle.

But before the Republicans waste too much breath giggling about how poorly organized and run the Democrats are in one of the reddest states in America, just remember that Davis and Orman may knock off incumbents in two state-wide races.

What does that say about the effectiveness of the Republican organization and message here?

Kent Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times-Gazette and can be reached at kbush@butlercountytimesgazette.com