In a remarkable turn of events, Kansas Democratic Senate candidate Chad Taylor announced he was dropping out of the race Wednesday. This move gives independent candidate Greg Orman a clear path to unseating the unpopular incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts.
This major shakeup puts the Kansas race in play. A PPP poll found Roberts has an incredibly poor job approval rating of 27/44, and without the opposition vote split he could easily lose. In the three-way race Roberts held a comfortable seven point lead, but in a head-to-head matchup against Orman the Senator trails by 10 points.
This could also change the entire dynamic of the Senate given that most models had shown Republicans potentially winning a slim majority. It could cost the GOP control of the Senate or even possibly result in Orman teaming up with independent Maine Sen. Angus King to create a small but powerful swing caucus that could try to leverage concession from either party. King has claimed to be a political free agent.
This surprising news comes the same day that the Democratic candidate for Governor in Alaska also dropped out to give an independent candidate the best chance of unseating the incumbent Republican.
As I said then this unfortunate dynamic is the result of us using the stupid first-past-the-post election system. If we used instant run-off voting, or even run-off elections Democratic candidates wouldn’t need to worry about being spoilers and dropping out. Voters would have more choice and a broader debate. Sadly, Democrats and Republicans work together to keep this bad system because it normally limits the choice to only them.