TPM News

In an apparent reversal, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office is instructing election officials in the state to send out overseas military ballots without Democratic Senate nominee Chad Taylor or any other Democratic Senate candidate listed.

Kobach spokeswoman Samantha Poetter confirmed to TPM that the ballots would be sent out by Saturday, the deadline under state and federal law.

"Our ballots are going out without Chad Taylor (or any Democratic candidate) for U.S. Senate," Poetter said. "They've been ordered to send them out as soon as possible."

TPM obtained a copy of the official order sent to local election officials.

"The list does NOT contain the name of a Democratic nominee for United States Senate," the order said. "There are three candidates, Randall Batson, Libertarian, Greg Orman, independent, Pat Roberts, Republican."

"All (overseas military) ballots MUST go out by tomorrow to comply with the 45 day requirement under state and federal law," it said.

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"We are all Georgians now," Republican presidential candidate John McCain famously declared in 2008, after speaking to Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili amid a growing conflict between Russia and the post-Soviet nation. McCain's campaign was playing up the conflict to paint candidate Barack Obama as inexperienced on foreign policy.

Six years later — and two years after he was ousted as president — it turns out Saakashvili is quite happy living the American life in a "self-imposed exile."

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House Republicans have hired a new lead attorney to handle their lawsuit against President Barack Obama over his unilateral tweaks to Obamacare.

William A. Burck of the firm Quinn Emenual Urqhart & Sullivan has been retained, after David Rivkin backed out under pressure his firm faced from other clients, a House Republican aide with knowledge of the lawsuit said.

As Burck notes in his official biography, he was the defense counsel for Maureen McDonnell, wife of now-convicted Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), in his recent high-profile political corruption trial.

The news was first reported by David Drucker of the Washington Examiner.

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Former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin took to Facebook on Friday to make what appeared to be her first veiled comments about the bloody brawl her family was allegedly involved in earlier this month at a house party in Alaska.

The post focused on how proud she was of her eldest daughter, Bristol Palin, who witnesses have said was seen repeatedly punching the owner of the house during the Sept. 6 melee in Anchorage. One witness who spoke to TPM described Bristol's actions as "quite violent."

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UPDATE: 4:05 p.m. In an unexpected twist, Kobach's office is ordering election officials to send out overseas military ballots without a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. His office would not say, however, what would happen next if the state Democratic Party eventually nominated a new candidate, as Kobach has said they should.

More here.

After his Thursday defeat at the Kansas Supreme Court, Secretary of State Kris Kobach unveiled a new plan to make sure a Democratic candidate is on the ballot in the state's Senate race. He would push back the mailing date for ballots sent to overseas military members and argue under state law that Democrats must name somebody to replace withdrawn nominee Chad Taylor.

But to move the mailing date for overseas military ballots from Sept. 20 to Sept. 27, as Kobach said Thursday that he would, he would need federal approval. And as of Friday afternoon, federal officials told TPM, he hasn't sought it.

The federal MOVE Act requires state election officials to send ballots to overseas military voters 45 days before the election. That would be Sept. 20 this year. States are, however, allowed to request a waiver if an "undue hardship" resulting from a legal contest arises -- and election law experts say that this circumstance would likely qualify.

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The day after the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the Democratic Senate nominee should be removed from the November ballot, Rasmussen is out with a new poll showing independent candidate Greg Orman ahead of incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) by five points in a head-to-head race.

Orman leads Roberts among likely voters 45 percent to 40 percent without Democratic nominee Chad Taylor on the ballot, according to Rasmussen. The question of whether another Democrat will be on the ballot is still to be resolved, but the poll is further evidence that Orman fares much better if he doesn't have to contend with a Democratic candidate.

When Rasmussen gave respondents a choice among all three candidates, Taylor received 9 percent of the vote and Roberts held a slight edge over Orman, 39 percent to 38 percent.

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