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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Kansas Doings Shake Up Battle for Senate Control — in a Good Way

Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium posts today at The New Yorker on the latest development in the Kansas Senate race, and observes:

Last night, Chad Taylor, the Democratic nominee in the upcoming Senate election in Kansas, announced that he was dropping out of the race. This is the biggest political story of the week: the path is now clear for the independent candidate Greg Orman to run against the unpopular Republican incumbent Pat Roberts. Orman is now the front-runner, a change that puts the Democrats squarely in the driver’s seat to retain control of the Senate.
…An Orman win could have a seismic effect on who controls the Senate. Orman says that he would caucus with the Senate’s two other independents, Bernie Sanders and Angus King. Both Sanders and King currently caucus with the Democrats. To be fair, Orman is not just a Democrat in disguise-he has promised to vote out Democrat Harry Reid as Majority Leader if he gets the chance. But Orman says that he wants to break the current gridlock in the Senate, and Senate Republicans have been gumming up the works on legislation and judicial appointments. So while Orman would be far from a shoo-in to vote for every Democratic position, he would certainly not be involved in any alliances with the Republicans.

Wang crunches some numbers and concludes, “…With Orman facing off alone against Roberts, the probability of Democratic control shot up to eighty-five per cent. During the past two weeks, polls in other states have moved even more in the Democrats’ favor. It’s safe to say that thanks to Chad Taylor’s decision, the Democratic Party is now the odds-on favorite to retain control of the Senate.”

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