Democratic candidates in key Senate races are abandoning midterm election ballots as the party tries to keep control of the chamber in the north wing of the U.S. Capitol.
The Washington Times
reports the ploy seems to be more intended to cause Republicans to lose rather than to help Democrats win.
In Kansas, Democratic Senate nominee Chad Taylor received permission from the state Supreme Court to withdraw from the race. That leaves just one major challenger — Independent Greg Orman — to face incumbent Republican Pat Roberts.
In Alaska, Democratic candidate for governor Byron Mallott withdrew from the race and joined Independent Bill Walker's campaign as his lieutenant governor. Both men were trailing incumbent Sean Parnell, a Republican, by double digits.
One expert said there's more at stake than the governor's mansion, however.
Political analyst Marc Hellenthal told the Times the move is designed to help Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who risks losing his seat to Republican candidate Dan Sullivan.
If Parnell were to enter election day with a large-enough lead over a Democrat and an Independent, there could be a low turnout from left-leaning voters. But the joint effort in the governor's race could close the gap some — which would bring out more Democratic voters, therefore helping Begich's cause.
"He [Begich] wanted a contested gubernatorial race because that helps him, in terms of bringing out marginal Democrats," Hellenthal said, the Times reports. "They're more motivated to vote, in other words."
With Republicans needing to gain six seats to secure control of the Senate, every detail matters in these crucial midterm elections.
Republicans in Kansas are crying foul over the Supreme Court's decision to allow Taylor to withdraw from the Senate race this close to election day.
Secretary of State Kris Kobach, according to the Times, first ordered Democrats to choose a new candidate by Sept. 26, but then agreed to send out some ballots without a Democrat on them.
Orman, although running on the Independent ticket, has run as a Democrat in the past. That means he could join forces with Senate Democrats — if he wins — and help the party maintain control.
"It is depressing to see the state Supreme Court condone political gamesmanship and a national power play to deceive and disenfranchise Kansas voters," Kansas Republican Chairman Kelly Arnold said, the Times reports.
"The people of Kansas deserve to know the corrupt bargain behind this deal. Discussions with Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill, followed by Harry Reid and Barack Obama's personal political attorney representing Taylor, are enough to prove the corrupt Democrat bosses controlled this decision, and the local Democrats lacked the courage to fight back."
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