By DAVE HELLING

McClatchy-Tribune

The legal dispute over whether Kansas Democrats must nominate a new Senate candidate has been transferred to a lower court, a decision likely to ensure no Democrat is on the Senate ballot this November.

The Kansas Supreme Court issued the transfer order Tuesday.

A lawsuit was filed Sept. 18 by David Orel of Kansas City, Kan., against the state Democratic Party and various party officials. It asked the state Supreme Court to order the Democrats to pick a replacement for Chad Taylor, the one-time nominee who left the race Sept. 3.

Orel said he wanted to vote for a Democrat, and that state law required the party to pick someone else for the November ballot.

But the court said Tuesday it needed more evidence before it could take up the case. It sent the case to the Shawnee County District Court.

The decision almost certainly means Democrats will not be ordered to pick a new nominee in time for the November ballot. A district court trial could involve witnesses, legal arguments, and a lengthy appeals process.

Some ballots have already been mailed overseas, but election officials are expected to begin printing other ballots this week.

The ballot now offers voters a choice among Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican, independent Greg Orman, and Libertarian nominee Randall Batson.