Kevin Yoder | KCUR

Kevin Yoder

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of people packed an Olathe, Kansas, church on Sunday afternoon to hear from newly elected Rep. Sharice Davids at a town hall.

Davids had promised regular town halls during her campaign for the 1st Congressional District against former Rep. Kevin Yoder. People want to interact with their representatives, she said.

“Not just to hear from their representative but to be able to ask the questions and voice their opinions and their ideas and their concerns,” Davids said after Sunday's event.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Kevin Yoder reflects on his time serving in a divided government.

We sat down with Kansas' former 3rd District U.S. Congressman to discuss the eight years he spent serving in Washington, including why things in Congress have ground seemingly to a halt, how he would like to see today's political environment change, and whether or not another political position might be in his future.

Congressional Leadership Fund

Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas' 3rd District had been in office for less than 24 hours when Republicans came out swinging with an attack ad.

"With her very first vote in Congress, Sharice Davids caved to the party bosses and voted to support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker," says a female narrator, with chilling music in the background.

Kansas News Service

Kansas Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids hoped to spend her first day in Congress helping to end a partial shutdown of the federal government.

Instead, she got a first-hand look at the gridlock that has characterized the nation's politics and frustrated voters in recent years.

Shortly after being sworn in as one of the first two Native American women to ever serve in Congress, Davids voted for a compromise funding package to end the budget stalemate.

Matthew Bruch / U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs

Kansas and Missouri lawmakers on both sides of the party lines said they don't support President Donald Trump's sudden announcement that he would withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. 

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

When a ban might not be a ban

Legislators set out this year to make telemedicine more practical in Kansas. They drafted a law that would force insurance companies to pay for some services offered over video hook-ups the same way as in-person visits.

But that bill became controversial when anti-abortion forces added language that seemed to stop a physician from administering drugs, over telemedicince links, intended to trigger a medical abortion.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Kansas City leaders got some good news from the federal government today.

Missouri Congressman Sam Graves announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $25 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grant to replace the Buck O’Neil Bridge.

The bridge carries 40,000 vehicles daily between downtown Kansas City and the Northland. At more than 60 years old, it’s nearing the end of its useful life.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

A change is gonna come

A new governor. Some fresh faces in the Legislature. A long-awaited task force report. An expanded stable of private contractors. The coming fallout from a class-action lawsuit.

The Kansas foster care system is getting a makeover. The people running the troubled Department for Children and Families hope that by shaking up the system, they can spare added grief for children already in crisis.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Six months ago, very few people in the Kansas 3rd Congressional District even knew Sharice Davids’ name. Now she has made history. Davids is the first openly gay representative in Kansas history. She joins Deb Haaland from New Mexico as the first Native American women in the House.

"We have a chance to reset expectations when people look at Kansas," Davids said to a room full of cheering supporters. "I knew we could do better and we just did."

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

Kansas, a state that went for President Donald Trump by 20 points two years ago, on Tuesday turned one of its four Republican seats in Congress to Democrat.

Democratic newcomer Sharice Davids topped incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder in his quest for a fifth term. She beat the Kansas City-area 3rd Congressional District by roughly 9 percentage points.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 / Senator Claire McCaskill / Flickr - CC

The midterm election is just a weekend away. Today, we covered the big races on both sides of the state line and some of the ballot measures Missouri voters are set to decide. In the Show-Me State, Attorney General Josh Hawley has been accused by Sen. Claire McCaskill of innapproriate use of consultants, but were the alleged misdeeds revealed too late to make a difference in the result? Meanwhile in Kansas, the contest between Secretary of State Kris Kobach and state Sen. Laura Kelly remains a virtual tie.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Of Trump, bomb plots and Twinkies

Lawyers for one of the men convicted of a Kansas terror plot are essentially arguing: the president made me do it. And that their client should get less time in prison because President Donald Trump’s rhetoric inspired a plan to set off explosives at an apartment complex in Garden City where Muslim immigrants live.

Prosecutors say, um, no. That Patrick Stein deserves life in prison for his role in the attack.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Incumbent Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder and his challenger, Democrat Sharice Davids, faced off in a debate on Tuesday afternoon, just a week ahead of the midterm election. 

Both are vying for a seat in the Kansas 3rd congressional district, and Tuesday's debate was the first time the candidates had met in person. Yoder called attention to this in his opening statement, accusing Davids of skipping debates.

Yoder and Davids Campaigns

The midterm elections are about a week away, and the race between Republican Kevin Yoder and Democrat Sharice Davids in Kansas’ 3rd district, which includes Johnson and Wyandotte counties as well as parts of Miami county, is a toss-up that could decide which party controls the House of Representatives.

Yoder and Davids appeared on KCUR’s Up to Date — Yoder on Sept. 11 and Davids on Oct. 19 — to discuss their positions on issues such as immigration, tax cuts and Medicare for all. Here are a few of their statements, fact-checked.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Brooklynne Mosley doesn’t like the term “blue wave.”

The Air Force veteran walked into the Kansas Democrats’ Wyandotte County field office wearing a T-shirt bearing the face of U.S. Senate candidate and liberal darling from Texas, Beto O’Rourke, and passing out buttons that read “throw shade, then vote.”

At a campaign rally in Topeka earlier this month, the tough talk on immigration from Republican gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach was a crowd pleaser.

“We’ve worked on a number of things, but the most important is stopping illegal immigration,” Kobach said to a cheering audience.

Kobach was standing next to President Donald Trump, who had kind words for the Kansas secretary of state, who’s advised the president on immigration and proposed wording for a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

Sharice David smiling at the camera while at KCUR
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Democratic candidate for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District is ready to debate Republican opponent.

Sharice Davids is leading incumbent Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder in the latest polls but has yet to face her opponent in a public debate. Among the issues the former White House Fellow addressed was dark money — which Davids calls a "barrier to electing people who have more similar experiences to most of us" — ICE and immigration, tax cuts and the tax bill, and leadership in both chambers of Congress.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Congressional pharming

Kaiser Health News looked at how much drugmakers are spending to buy influence on Capitol Hill and found Big Pharma has tossed $12 million into various campaigns this cycle, including more than $100,000 to 34 different lawmakers.

Kansas politicians don’t rank terribly high on the list. But they have pulled in some dough from the folks who make the pills that can save your life or steal your nest egg:

Sen. Pat Roberts, $48,500 in the current cycle, $485,600 since 2007.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Money, money, money

People, apparently, still give money to the campaigns of congressional candidates. But the real action these days comes from different directions.

Consider, for instance, Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District. Sure, Democrat Paul Davis pulled in about $1.3 million over the last three months. And that’s more than four times Republican Steve Watkins collected from donors.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Expandable

Few things stand as clearly at stake in this year’s governor’s race as the expansion of Medicaid.

If Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach wins, it’s just not gonna happen.

If Democrat Laura Kelly or independent Greg Orman win, it almost certainly will.

Kansas would join 33 other states and include a large swath of people currently without Medicaid coverage or ineligible for the health insurance subsidies created under Obamacare.

Sharice David smiling at the camera while at KCUR
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

A local Kansas GOP official has resigned after making disparaging remarks about Kansas congressional candidate Sharice Davids, writing "Your radical socialist kick boxing lesbian Indian will be sent back packing to the reservation."

On Sunday night, Michael Kalny, former GOP precinct committeeman of Shawnee, Kansas, made the remarks in a private Facebook message to Anne Pritchett, a chapter president of the Johnson County Democratic Women.

Pritchett said she was surprised at first. 

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

You’re rubber ...

Democrat Laura Kelly called baloney on Republican Kris Kobach when he said Kansas can save $377 million a year by denying services and benefits to immigrants in the country illegally. Kobach said there’s no reason an 18-year-old should be forced to get a permit for a concealed weapon. Independent Greg Orman said the state actually needs to impose tighter control on guns. And Libertarian Jeff Caldwell and independent Rick Kloos were happy to be on stage with the frontrunners.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

High-stakes low-profile

Democrat and political newcomer Sharice Davids is leading in multiple polls and recent fundraising in her bid to oust Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder.

Not so much in public appearances.

KCUR’s Sam Zeff explores her apparent lay-low strategy to win in a district that covers the Kansas side of the Kansas City area.

Schooling you on the candidates

Yoder and Davids campaigns

In the final month before the November elections, Republicans and some Democrats are asking: where is Sharice Davids?

Davids, a Democratic newcomer, seems to be leading the race against Republican incumbent Congressman Kevin Yoder in the 3rd District of Kansas.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Rep. Kevin Yoder acknowledged Wednesday that he may lose his campaign for a fifth term in Congress. “Well, I think we may be the underdog in this race," he said before addressing the Johnson County Bar Association.

However, Yoder suggested his Democratic opponent Sharice Davids is taking the campaign for granted.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Democrat Sharice Davids walloped incumbent Rep. Kevin Yoder in fundraising last quarter.

The Davids campaign says the first-time candidate raised $2.7 million between July and September. In that same period Yoder, running for a fifth term in the Kansas 3rd District, raised almost $1.3 million.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Hope and change the seat to blue

Former President Barack Obama continues to roll out scores of endorsements in this year’s mid-term congressional elections, hoping to stick his successor with more Democratic resistance on Capitol Hill.

Sharice Davids is among the more than 300 candidates, all Democrats, Obama has backed.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Not quite all in

The Beltway-focused newspaper The Hill is now reporting that the National Republican Congressional Committee has pulled more than $1 million it had planned to spend on U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder’s re-election.

Yoder isn’t entirely abandoned by the party. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC has been buying heavily in the race to bash Yoder’s Democratic opponent, Sharice Davids.

file photo / KCUR

The National Republican Congressional Committee has pulled more than $1 million in advertising support from Rep. Kevin Yoder's re-election campaign in the Kansas 3rd District, according to The Hill newspaper.

The Hill broke the story late Sunday and quotes an unnamed source "familiar with the NRCC's strategic thinking."

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

MKGA

On the eve of the Kansas Republican primary for governor, President Donald Trump tweeted his endorsement of Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Little more than a week later, when Kobach could finally claim victory, he stood at the foot of the state Capitol and promised to do for Topeka what Trump’s done for Washington. Trump, he promised, was coming to campaign for him.

This week, that campaign promise looks pretty strong.

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