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2014 Shakeup: What's the Matter With Kansas?

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Image: Greg Orman
Greg Orman, an independent candidate for U.S. Senate, talks about launching his statewide television and radio ad campaign during a news conference at his campaign headquarters Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Shawnee, Kan.Charlie Riedel / AP file

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NBC News has confirmed that a little-known Democratic Senate nominee in Kansas, Chad Taylor, has officially withdrawn his candidacy, and that potentially could shake up the entire battle for Senate.

Why? Because Taylor's departure leaves the contest between incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, and independent businessman Greg Orman. A recent automated poll (that doesn't meet NBC's methodological standards) showed Orman leading Roberts in a head-to-head match-up. Roberts, however, was leading in the three-way race.

What's especially interesting is that no one knows with which party Orman would caucus if he wins. What's also important to note is that Republicans must pick up a net six Senate seats to win back control of the Senate. So a GOP loss in Kansas — if Orman wins and if he caucuses with the Democrats — could make things more difficult for Republicans to win the Senate.

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Image: Greg Orman
Greg Orman, an independent candidate for U.S. Senate, talks about launching his statewide television and radio ad campaign during a news conference at his campaign headquarters Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Shawnee, Kan.Charlie Riedel / AP file

- Mark Murray

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