Third Democrat files to challenge Yoder in 3rd District; Democrats betting Trump puts district in play
Jay Sidie, a Johnson County businessman, announced Thursday he plans to file as a Democrat to challenge Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder in the 3rd District.
That would make Sidie the third Democrat to enter the race. Reggie Marselus, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 2014, and Nathaniel McLaughlin, a health care administrator from Kansas City, Kan., have officially filed in that race.
Sidie is a financial advisor and founder of his own firm, Counterpunch Financial in Mission Woods.
Greg Goode, a Louisburg Republican, has also filed to challenge Yoder in the GOP primary.
In his announcement, Sidie tried to link Yoder with Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, saying he "will always stand up for middle class families and fight back against the devastating Yoder-Brownback education cuts."
Yoder, a former member of the Kansas House, was first elected to Congress in 2010, the same year Brownback stepped down from the U.S. Senate to run for governor, so the two have never served together in the same level of government.
Kansas Democrats are hoping to capitalize at all levels this year off of Brownback's low approval ratings. A Morning Consult poll released last week showed him at just 26 percent, making him the least popular governor in the United States.
And nationally, they're also banking on the idea that having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket will be a drag on other GOP candidates further down the ballot.
In March, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced it was trying to recruit a candidate against Yoder, believing that having Donald Trump at the top of the GOP ticket could make him vulnerable because the 3rd District — Johnson and Wyandotte Counties, and a small portion of Miami County — has a high percentage of college-educated and suburban voters, two key demographic groups where Trump's approval ratings are the lowest.
But most observers still rate Yoder as the prohibitive favorite in that race. He won his last re-election bid against Democrat Kelly Kultala, 60 percent to 40 percent.
Kansas Republicans hasten to point out that Hillary Clinton's approval ratings are not much better than Trump's, and they don't believe she'll be able to motivate Democrats to turn out and vote in the same way Barack Obama was able to do in 2008 and 2012.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Tuesday launched automated phone calls in the 2nd congressional district blaming U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, for helping shut down the federal government.
The campaign asks Kansans to call Jenkins to tell her to end the shutdown.
The call says: "While you were sleeping, Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins shut down the government. You heard that right. But even worse — Congresswoman Jenkins is still getting paid — and she's not listening to our frustration. All because of her demand to take away your benefits and protect insurance company profits."
Jenkins, whose district includes Lawrence, has voted for bills to fund government but only if the Affordable Care Act is repealed or key parts of it delayed. She has blamed Democrats for failing to approve the bill. And Jenkins has asked that her pay be withheld until the government is operating again.
The DCCC has also launched similar automated calls against U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park.