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Politics, Elections and Government

Democrats Pledge Unity To Defeat Yoder In Kansas 3rd Congressional District

Sam Zeff
KCUR 89.3

Just hours after winning the Democratic nomination for the 3rd Congressional District of Kansas, political newcomer Sharice Davids stood on stage with her former rivals. All of them pledged to work together to oust incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder in November.

“I think the 3rd District is seeing a candidate they’ve never seen before,” Davids said after the rally.

If elected, Davids would be the first LGBT, Native American in Congress — something she's played up from the moment she entered the race in February. And something Davids says is bringing new people into politics.

“People who are not traditionally involved in the political sphere are getting involved and that is part of the way we’re going to get people excited to come out and vote,” she said.

Not only were five of the six Democratic candidates there (Jay Sidie did not attend), there were several other elected Democrats in the room. Some backed other candidates, but they were all smiles on Wednesday.

“I think everyone in this room knows Kevin Yoder is unacceptable and needs to go,” Brent Welder, who finished second in the primary, said at the rally while holding his youngest daughter. “Sharice Davids is a fighter. She is going to stand up and bring a voice to so many people in this district.”

In Yoder, Davids will face a political veteran who is well financed. He has about $1.8 million in the bank, according to his last campaign finance report.

Davids has about $26,000 cash on hand, according to her campaign manager. Emily's List, a political action committee that seeks to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, spent heavly for Davids, dropping $708,000 on TV ads.

Yoder has been endorsed by President Trump. That is likely to play well in parts of Johnson County but may hurtYoder in other parts of the county.

Davids is hoping for the latter.

"Trump is a little chaotic for this district," she said.

Finding a way to attack Davids may be tricky for Republicans. In this #MeToo movement election year, it may be tougher to go negative on a woman candidate, Davids' campaign manager Daniel McNamara suggested after the rally.

On Wednesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee attacked Davids, describing her as "the farthest left candidate by emerging from the most liberal field Kansas City has ever seen."

Asked what the biggest issue is in the 3rd District, Davids, who supports Medicare for all, didn't hesitate.

“Certainly it seems as though healthcare is probably the biggest issue, at least from the conversations I’ve been having with folks,” she said.

Sam Zeff is KCUR's metro reporter. Follow him on Twitter @SamZeff.

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