TOPEKA, Kan., Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court refused Wednesday to order the Democratic Party to field a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Kansas.
Also Wednesday, a USA Today/Suffolk University poll showed independent businessman Greg Orman leading Sen. Pat Roberts 46 percent to 41 percent with 13 percent undecided. In the governor's race, in a state where Republicans outnumber Democrats almost 2-1, Democratic challenger Paul Davis is ahead of Gov. Sam Brownback 46 percent to 42 percent with 12 percent undecided.
The court found that Kris Kobach, the Republican state attorney general, had no standing to challenge the Democratic candidate's decision to drop out. Dave Orel, a Democrat who sued to force the party to run someone, did not appear for arguments Monday and the judges said they probably would have ruled against him if he had.
"Put simply, if Mr. Orel has been 'harmed,' it is the exact same 'harm' affecting all other citizens of Kansas who have registered to vote and intend to vote: he cannot vote for a Democrat nominee at the general election," the court said.
Chad Taylor, the Democratic candidate, withdrew from the race in September after polls showed that independent Greg Orman had a shot at defeating Republican Sen. Pat Roberts if he was the only opposition candidate.
The Democrats currently hold 53 seats in the Senate to 45 for the Republicans. Two independents, Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, caucus with the Democrats.
Orman, who has registered as both a Republican and a Democrat in the past, has not said which party he would associate with. If the November elections end up in a tie, he could determine which party controls the upper house.