Kansas 3rd District Race Brings Controversy and Cash

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Sharice Davids and Kevin Yoder vie for the 3rd District in Kansas.

Midterm Race Brings Controversy and Cash

By Samuel Ast, Political Contributor

Congressional candidate Sharice Davids was absent from a scheduled event hosted by the Johnson County Bar Association on Wednesday at the DoubleTree Hotel in Overland Park.

What was originally billed as a private question and answer forum between Davids and incumbent Republican representative Kevin Yoder, in front of over 200 of the Association’s members, turned into a solo act by Yoder. At the event, Yoder railed against his opponent for her lack of attendance at the Bar luncheon. Further seizing the opportunity, Yoder went on a full scale tirade against Davids, characterizing her as a “ghost,” and depicting her as an out of touch, radical liberal that was doing the district a disservice by not being there.

The David’s campaign did not shy away from this line of attack. In a statement to the Kansas City Star, campaign spokeswoman Teixeira Sulier emphasized that “Sharice is focused on our grass-roots campaign and connecting directly with Kansas voters.”

Despite Wednesday’s controversy, it would be hard to dampen the mood inside David’s campaign. With official reports set to be reported to the Federal Election Commission by October 15, some spectacular preliminary third quarter fundraising numbers have been disclosed that show immense financial support for the Democratic challenger.

Since July, Davids has out-raised Yoder by a whopping $1.6 million, setting records that even surpass those of formidable Democratic candidates from the district in the past. With early voting set to begin in Kansas on October 17, television ads will continue to flood the airwaves, and as of Tuesday, when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee–or DCCC–released their third ad in support of Davids, there was yet another new political commercial.

Describing the purpose of the ad was DCCC spokeswoman, Rachel Irwin. In a publicly released statement on the group’s website that was released with the new ad, she says that “there’s no issue more personal than healthcare,” adding, “Kevin Yoder has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from insurance companies while voting to raise healthcare costs for Kansas families. His repeated votes to gut protections for Kansans with pre-existing conditions like asthma, cancer and diabetes are disgraceful.”

The new ad from Sharice comes on the heels of some developing news from the National Republican Campaign Committee, or NRCC. On September 30, The Hill, citing an anonymous source, reported that the committee would be canceling $1.2 million in planned advertising that was scheduled to hit the air on October 9. So far, according to the same reporting from The Hill, the Congressional Leadership Fund–a major GOP super-PAC dedicated to assisting Republicans in their efforts to retain control of the lower chamber– has already spent almost $2 million on the race, with another $750,000 worth of ad time set to air beginning in the middle of November and to continue through to election day.

A new Emerson college poll from September 26-28 has David’s within the margin of error, in reality holding a modest lead among 938 residents surveyed. The New York Times along with Siena College also spoke to district residents, around 450 of them, about the race, and they put her ahead of Yoder by eight points.

A pre-scheduled televised debate, hosted by the KC Star, is expected to take place on October 29. Among the issues sure to be discussed is health care. As The Martin City Telegraph has previously reported, a North Texas lawsuit–whose litigants include Missouri and Kansas–is under increasing scrutiny by the media and Washington due to the possible implications of the case. Attorneys General Derek Schmidt of Kansas and Josh Hawley, of Missouri, are seeking a ruling against the Affordable Care Act on the grounds that the 2017 repeal of the individual mandate should result in the entire health act being tossed out.

Yoder has only just recently signed on to a House bill, “The Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act”, that aims to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions from discrimination by insurers–something the ACA already does.

The Davids campaign and the national Democratic party apparatus are quick to highlight the fact that Yoder has voted numerous times to dismantle former president Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation. Sharice David’s campaign spokeswoman recently told the KC Star that Yoder was “grandstanding and lying” about his record on health policies that help sick Americans.

Throughout a wave of outside involvement, attention, and money– including an endorsement of David’s by former president Barack Obama–Representative Yoder has appeared more reluctant to publicly voice support of President Donald Trump or others in the Republican party, for instance the GOP candidate for Kansas governor, Kris Kobach. Kobach and Yoder are at odds regarding immigration rhetoric. Although their policy positions remain fairly closely aligned, Kobach takes a more hardline and overtly sensational stand on immigration matters, while Yoder’s rhetoric remains more conciliatory, technical and subdued.

Trump is set to touch down in Kansas for an event this Saturday in Topeka. The event will aim to give a last-minute boost to Republican gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach as well as Steve Watkins, who is locked in a tough race in the state’s second congressional district against former state representative Paul Davis. Notably absent from the event will be Representative Yoder.

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