The Post reports: “Democratic nominee Chad Taylor dropped out of the race for U.S. Senate in Kansas on Wednesday, an 11th hour move that could clear the way for his party to rally behind an independent candidate Greg Orman against the GOP incumbent Pat Roberts and potentially change the math in the battle for the Senate majority.” It’s no mystery the Democrats wanted the lackluster candidate and poor fundraiser, who is polling worse than the independent candidate. Sure enough, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) gave him a nudge: “Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) spoke with Taylor about dropping out of the race in order to consolidate support behind Orman in hopes of unseating Roberts, according to Democrats familiar with the talks.”
While conventional wisdom is now the race gets harder for Roberts and imperils the GOP’s shot at a Senate majority, in fact Orman has suggested he’d caucus with the winner of the majority. (Now there’s a man of principle.) If the GOP wins the majority, Orman would add to that. If he is the deciding vote (because the GOP has won precisely five seats) he has suggested he would caucus with both (!). Frankly, that sounds like Roberts’s best argument in a red state: He is the only safe “no” vote against Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for majority leader. Watch for Republicans to paint Orman as the Charlie Crist of Kansas (actually Orman is from Florida).
That said, like Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Roberts needs to wake up. Republican operatives are emphatic that he needs to work harder, take fundraising seriously and spend the next two months vigorously campaigning at home.
On one level, getting their own candidates to drop out is a sign of Democratic desperation. However, it should remind Republicans that strange things happen in the election, and nothing is in the bag.