The Democratic challenger in the Senate race in Kansas dropped out Wednesday, leaving the possibility that an independent candidate will face incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts head-on in November.
Chad Taylor, a local district attorney, told the Wichita Eagle
that he pulled out of the race "after much consideration and prolonged discussion with my supporters, my staff, and party leadership at every level."
"I have great love for the state of Kansas and the people that live here. I will continue work in their best interest every day, but effective today, my campaign is terminated," Taylor said.
Republicans need to gain six seats in the Senate to win the majority, and Kansas has not been viewed as one of the key races in the battle for control, The Washington Post
Taylor's decision may change that.
, the independent candidate,
wouldn't tell The Post last week which party he'd caucus with if elected, but suggested he'd go with whichever party is in the majority and would consider joining both sides if he ends up being the deciding vote.
Taylor's decision to drop out came on the same day Orman snagged the endorsement of more than 70 former Republican lawmakers, the Eagle reported.
"He's created a buzz for himself, and that's pretty impressive for an independent candidate," Emporia State University political science professor Michael Smith told the newspaper.
Orman would lead Roberts 43 percent to 33 percent in a head-to-head race, according to an August poll from Public Policy Polling
"This is certainly an unexpected turn of events," Orman said Wednesday night. "Chad Taylor is a committed public servant. He ran an honorable campaign and worked hard, and I wish him and his family well."
But Roberts campaign manager Leroy Towns accused Democrats of meddling, The Post reports.
"Chad Taylor’s withdrawal from the U.S. Senate race reveals a corrupt bargain between Greg Orman and national Democrats, including Sen. Harry Reid, that disenfranchises Kansas Democrats," he said.
"It makes clear what has been obvious from the start: Orman is the choice of liberal Democrats and he can no longer hide behind an independent smokescreen."
The state Democratic Party hadn't decided whether it will try to replace Taylor with another candidate, The Post reports.
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