MISSION, Kan. – U.S. Representative Sharice Davids sought a third term on Tuesday to represent her swing Kansas City-area district as Republicans hoped the midterm momentum would oust the lone Democrat from Kansas’ congressional delegation.
Davids faced a rematch with Amanda Adkins, his 2020 Republican challenger, after the GOP-led redistricting made the 3rd District more difficult for Davids. Like other GOP congressional candidates, Adkins has focused on crime, high inflation and other pocketbook issues and tried to tie the Democratic incumbent to President Joe Biden.
While Davids highlighted federal funding for local projects and efforts to lower prescription drug costs, she and her fellow Democrats aggressively attacked Adkins on abortion. Adkins backed a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution that voters across the state decisively rejected in August, while Davids opposed it.
Davids was the first Native American lesbian in Congress and is a lawyer and former mixed martial arts fighter. She ousted four-term GOP incumbent Kevin Yoder midterm in 2018 as suburban voters turned on then-President Donald Trump. Her measured personality has frustrated GOP efforts to portray her as a radical liberal.
Adkins is a former Cerner Corp executive. of healthcare technology and a former chairman of the Republican Party of Kansas.
Key to their run was the suburbs of Kansas City in Johnson County, the most populous county in the state. The county leans Republican on voter registration, but Davids prevailed in 2020. Adkins hoped to win back independent and moderate Republicans there upset with the economy.
The Republican-controlled state legislature redrawn congressional districts earlier this year to rebalance their populations after a decade of change and divide the Kansas City, Kansas area. Davids’ district lost areas where it performed best and regained heavily Republican areas in three northeast Kansas counties.
Had the new lines been in place in 2020, Davids and Biden’s 10-point winning margins would have been cut in half. And Republicans were counting on economic problems to help them close the gap this year.
But Democrats were energized by the national abortion vote in August. Adkins said abortion should be regulated by the states and she would not support a federal abortion law. Adkins did not specify how far she thinks an abortion law should go in Kansas, which bans most 22nd-week abortions, but said she would welcome any new progressive state measures that reduce the number of abortions.
Even with the new, more Republican leanings of the 3rd arrondissement, 67.5% of its voters opposed the anti-abortion measure in August.
The other three incumbents of the US House, all Republicans, were up for re-election. These are Tracey Mann, in a redesigned 1st District to include the liberal northeast Kansas community of Lawrence as well as rural central and western Kansas; Jake LaTurner, in the 2nd district of eastern Kansas, and Ron Estes in the 4th district of the Wichita area.
Hanna reported from Topeka, Kansas.
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