There is a myth that Kansas is a deep red state. Not true. Kansas has one red congressional district in the big red 1st. It is the only Congressional District in Kansas where Republicans outnumber Democrats and unaffiliated voters combined. The 2nd and 4th Districts have been swing districts that have recently trended Republican while the 3rd has been trending left with each election.
When I became involved in Kansas politics in the mid 90s the 2nd and 4th Congressional Districts were both in the hands of Democrats and Jan Meyers, a very moderate Republican, was the Representative for the 3rd District. Since Meyers retirement, Democrats have held the seat 7 out of 12 terms while Kevin Yoder, a conservative leaning moderate Republican held it for 4 terms and Vince Snowbarger, a conservative, managed to win it for one term against a Democrat candidate that was so flawed that even The Star endorsed Snowbarger.
Historically in the 3rd District, Democrats have been heavily favored in Wyandotte County while a small portion of Miami County was heavily Republican. The real difference used to be Johnson County, dominated by a largely moderate Republican establishment, but that is changing.
Northeast Johnson County has been trending Democratic. Indeed, Prairie Village appears to have far more in common with Portland, Seattle and Minneapolis than what one would expect for a city in the American heartland. Also, the thousands of new apartments particularly along I-435 in Lenexa and dotted across the county have turned other once safe Republican strongholds into swing districts if not safe havens for Democrats.
Adding to Republican woes the Johnson County Republican Party has suffered from intra-party conflict, weakening the party’s ability to support its candidates against an increasingly well-organized Democrat surge.
If those problems weren’t bad enough, in 2018 Democrats at the national level discovered that an infusion of cash in amounts that would be seen as trivial on either coast was sufficient to elect a carpet-bagging lesbian, still registered to vote in South Dakota, and barely able to regurgitate talking points fed to her by staff, to a Congressional seat here in the “conservative” heartland.
So substantial was the change that in 2018 only one statewide Republican candidate received more votes in Johnson County than their Democrat opponent. Vickie Schmidt, a liberal Republican, managed to garner more votes than her Democrat challenger. Even Derek Schmidt, the moderate Attorney General, came in second.
Watch the debate between Davids and Adkins:
And so, with that background and an even greater influx of cash from New York and particularly California, Democrat Sharice Davids must be considered the heavy favorite to retain her seat representing the 3rd District in Congress.
Democrats in the district have developed a strategy honed over six terms of Dennis Moore’s reign of creating the image, if not the reality, of the “moderate” Democrat. While Davids votes 97% of the time with Nancy Pelosi, she studiously avoids issues that might trigger controversy back “home” in her district. Contact with voters is tightly controlled and, as last time, multiple debates were rejected by the inarticulate Davids until shortly before the election and then only those fitting a very restrictive formula loaded in her favor were accepted.
Davids’ opponent is Amanda Adkins, an intelligent, articulate and successful former Cerner executive with extensive leadership as both a political and community leader.
Among her many successes Amanda served as Professional Staff on the US House Rules Committee, and worked on commerce issues in the United States Senate. She has been the Political and Executive Director of GOPAC and was also the Chair of the Kansas Republican Party. She served on the Executive Committee of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce for 14 years and also served on the Boards of The Salvation Army and The Entrepreneur Coalition.
Adkins also has some laudable endorsements, including Kansans for Life.
If elections were based on merit, Adkins would win in a landslide. Where Davids has failed at virtually everything she’s tried including law and even managing a small coffee shop, Adkins has been extraordinarily successful. Adkins is articulate and independent while Davids is a creature of her handlers’ creation, barely able to regurgitate their carefully constructed talking points, and careful not to go off script.
Unfortunately, elections are not based on merit and in their most recent incarnation here in the 3rd District, the highest intersectionality score seems to carry the day, actual qualifications notwithstanding.
Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District
Amanda Adkins lives in Overland Park, Kan. with her husband Jason and two kids. She attended, Chapman University then received a BA in Human Biology and Anthropology from the University of Kansas, 1996-1998.
Her professional experience includes:
She is the co-chair and founder of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Excellence in Public Service Series, an organization devoted to training Republican women for public office. Adkins’ campaign platform is centered around healthcare reform, de-funding sanctuary cities, and lowering abortion numbers.
Vice President of Strategic Growth, Cerner Corporation, 2019-2020
Vice President and General Manager of Population Health, Cerner Corporation, 2008-2019
Director of Government and Industry, Cerner Corporation, 2004-2008
Co-Chair and Founder, Dwight D. Eisenhower Excellence in Public Service Series, 2005-Present
Campaign Manager, Brownback for United States Senate, 2003-2004
Political and Executive Director, Grand Old Party Political Action Committee (GOPAC), Incorporated, 2000-2002
Professional Staff, United States House Rules Committee, 2002
Legislative Aide, United States Senate, 1998-2000
Member, Executive Committee of Kansas Chamber of Commerce, 2005-2019
Founder and Director, Systems of Care Initiative (SOCI Communities), 2019-Present
Appointed by Governor Brownback, Member, Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund, 2011-2018
Board Member, Salvation Army, Kansas and Western Missouri Division, 2010-2017
Board Member, The Entrepreneur Coalition, 2011-2015
Chairwoman, Kansas Republican Party, 2009-2013
Adkins says her primary issues are COVID-19 response, economic and business growth, fiscal responsibility, healthcare, immigration, infrastructure, protecting Constitutional freedoms, and recognizing the value and dignity of life.
Abortion: Adkins is pro-life and has been endorsed by state and national pro-life organizations. She stated, “As a pro-life advocate, I am committed to supporting life from conception until natural death. I celebrate the dignity and value of every citizen as informed by my strong faith and experiences as a mother.” (amandaadkins2020.com)
Suburban women: Adkins believes this voting bloc is concerned with two things: the economy and “the desire to have hope for the future of their children” (she has two of her own). She said when she talks to women, they “want you to understand their problems related to those areas … (that) you share their values and that you’re a problem solver.”
Economy and taxes: Supports lowering taxes but is against continued federal spending solely to promoting private economic growth.
Gun control: Does not generally support gun control or gun confiscation from law-abiding individuals.
Healthcare: Favors repealing and replacing ObamaCare. Adkins said one of the main weaknesses in the nation’s health care system is “how we finance care,” and she would like to put that into the hands of “the individual and the family directly.” She would do that with account-based plans, like health savings accounts.
Immigration: Supports construction of the security wall along the Mexican border.
National Rifle Association 92%
Kansans for Life, National Right to Life, Associated General Contractors of America, Susan Pompeo, Missouri U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and U.S. Rep. Sam Graves.
Issue Position: Infrastructure Issue
Position: Defending America’s Security, Protecting American Jobs
Issue Position: Promoting Economic Recovery through Fiscal Responsibility
Issue Position: COVID-19 “Coronavirus”
Issue Position: Amanda’s Vision for America
Herzog Contracting: $63,549
Cerner Corp: $24,825
Crossland Construction: $23,400
JE Dunn: $19,550McCarthy Auto: $17,600
Top industries include: General contractors, real estate, leadership PACs, finance, ideology (such as pro-life) $123,600, agribusiness.
Total Raised: $2,054,033.63
Total Spent: $1,794,400.95
Cash On Hand: $259,632.68
Prior to serving in the U.S. Congress, Davids biggest claim to fame was as a mixed martial-arts fighter with a 1-1 win/loss record in professional fights. She also worked as an attorney and many contest her eligibility to have run for the seat based on residency requirements. While written about in other media, the Kansas City Star, which endorsed her, chose not to investigate the claims. She was elected to congress in 2018 and became the first openly gay Native American elected to the U.S. Congress, She lives with her partner in Roeland Park, Kan.
According to her financial disclosure form, which she was required to complete as a candidate for federal office, Davids owes at least $100,000 of student debt.
When Davids ran for Congress in 2018, it was revealed she owed investors in her coffee business thousands of dollars. A South Dakota judge ordered Sharice Davids’ failed coffee company to repay investors nearly $20,000. South Dakota Circuit Court Judge Robert Mandel ordered Davids’ Hoka Coffee Company to pay New Vision Venture Partners $19,539 in January 2016, which she failed to do.
Contrary to media reports, Davids is not the first Native American Congressional member from Kansas. That milestone goes to Charles Curtis, a Republican from Topeka who spoke Kaw before he spoke English, and who won a House seat in 1892. In 1907 he was elected to serve as a Kansas Senator, and he was later elected Vice President of the United States from 1929 to 1933.
Border Emergency: Voted to terminate the border emergency declaration with Mexico. As tens of thousands of migrants poured across the border in 2018 and 19, President Trump declared an emergency which allowed him to bypass the Democrat-controlled Congress and re-prioritize funding not only for a wall but for personnel to handle the influx.
Net Neutrality: Davids voted to reinstate outdated Federal Communications Commission rules that would regulate Internet service providers as public utilities. Providers had wanted to charge customers that use substantially more bandwidth than their neighbors, a different rate. It imposed other restrictions on how providers manage their networks.
Federal control of state voting practices: Davids voted to give the Democrat Congress and Federal government the ability to mandate that states or local governments must get approval before they make changes to voting practices in various circumstances. It would apply to jurisdictions in which just three voting rights violations occurred in the last 25 years.
Impeachment: Davids voted yes to impeach President Trump over a phone call the president made to inquire about illegal business dealings by Hunter Biden and the oil firm Burisma. The Senate acquitted the President. Likewise, she also voted to impeach the president over obstruction of justice. President Trump was again acquitted by the Senate.
Iran: Davids voted with other Democrats to force the president to end any military pressure or threat of action against Iran over its involvement in the death of American service personnel, nuclear proliferation and possible terrorist activities.
Heroes Act: Davids voted against extending financial help to Americans without jobs as a result of coronavirus lockdowns and closed businesses. The bill would have also provided COVID-19 financial relief to state and local governments, among other provisions.
Washington DC statehood: Davids voted yes to admit Washington DC as a state. Democrats favor statehood because it could add two new Democrat seats for the party for both the House and Senate.
Defense spending authorization: Voted yes to authorize spending on behalf of the Pentagon.
Corporate governance: Voted yes to require companies to disclose the level racial, ethnic, sexuality and gender composition of their boards and upper management.
Minimum wage: Davids voted yes to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour over several years.
Military sales: Davids voted to prevent sales of military equipment to US allies Britain, France and the UAE.
Forced voter registration: Davids voted yes on the For the People bill that requires all states to authorize automatic voter registration, make Election Day a federal holiday, create independent redistricting commissions for the drawing of congressional districts, and require nonprofit organizations, including pro-life groups, to disclose their large donors. Also requires states to permit felons to vote in elections.
Paris Climate Accords: Voted yes to force President Trump to abide by actions taken by former President Barack Obama under the Paris Climate Accords.
Abortion: Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
“I’m definitely not going to apologize for taking @emilyslist [pro-abortion] support, b/c they play a role in helping pro-choice women candidates get elected.” (twitter.com)
Crime: Does not support the protection of government officials, including law enforcement officers, from personal liability in civil lawsuits.
Guns: Responded “yes” to the question, “Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
Immigration: Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship? Answered “Yes.”
Campaign for Working Families 0%
Heritage Action for America 5%
National Right to Life Committee 6%
Planned Parenthood Action Fund 100%
Plastics Industry Association 100%
Susan B. Anthony List (pro-life) 0%
American Civil Liberties Union 76%
American Conservative Union 0%
Campaign for Working Families 0%
Heritage Action for America 5%
National Education Association 100%
University of Kansas, Deutsche Telekom, New Democrat Coalition, Emily’s list (pro-abortion).
Top industry sources include: Democrat/Liberal $330,351
Ideology/Single Issue (pro-choice etc): $1,291,309
Total Raised: $5,202,781.23
Total Spent: $4,537,804.68
Cash On Hand: $673,608.98
–Commentary by John Altevogt; Candidate info compiled by Dwight Widaman