Elections for all 435 U.S. House seats is taking place in November, and in most U.S. House races the political party of the winner is all but decided before the race even begins. Heading into the election, the Republican Party holds a majority of 235 seats to Democrats’ 193 seats (seven seats are vacant). The Democratic Party is well-positioned to gain seats in the house in 2018, and two of those seats may be in Kansas.
The majority of seats in the closest races in the country are currently held by Republicans. Of the 77 battleground races identified by Ballotpedia, 63 are currently under Republican control, while Democrats only hold eight seats. Kansas District two Seat is one of those that might flip. Congressman Kevin Yoder, Republican, seems to falling behind in the polls against Democrat Sharice Davids.
Yoder represents the Kansas 3rd District, which includes Johnson and Wyandotte Counties. In the 2016 presidential election, Hilary Clinton barely beat out Trump with 47% to his 46% of the vote. It’s a district that fluctuates between electing Democrats and Republicans. They’re the last Kansas District to send a Democrat to Washington, Dennis Moore, who represented the district from 1999-2011.
Yoder isn’t an ultra-conservative, but he voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act and stood proudly with Republicans and the president to enact a $1.5 trillion tax cut at the end of last year. Now, as he faces his toughest election yet, Yoder is suddenly positioning himself much closer to the middle.
Davids, and a first-time candidate, worked in the Obama White House and would be the first lesbian member of Congress from Kansas.
There are more open seats in districts held by Republicans than Democrats; 37 Republicans and 18 Democrats are not be seeking re-election in 2018. Open seats are historically much more likely to flip than seats in which an incumbent is seeking re-election. Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District is one of the open seats that might flip from Republican to Democrat.
Incumbent Lynn Jenkins, is not seeking reelection. Vying to fill her seat are: Republican Steven Watkins and Democrat Paul Davis. The 2nd District, which includes Topeka and all of Eastern Kansas, except Wyandotte and Johnson counties, strongly supported Trump in 2016. They gave him 56% of the vote to Clinton’s 37%. The District did elect a Democrat, Nancy Boyda, to serve just one term from 2007-09.
Despite what could seem as insurmountable odds, Lawrence Atty. Paul Davis is faring well in the election. A New York Times Poll has Davis at 45%, Watkins at 44% and 12% undecided. Another poll conducted by Emerson College, has Davis up by 4 points, with 35 and 31% of the vote respectively
Davis has been in this position before. In 2014, he was in a close race against incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback. It was one of those races that could have gone either way, but Davis lost 46.1% to 49.8%.
Davis, a Lawrence attorney, served in the Kansas House from 2003 -2014, and was elected by his peers to serve as Minority Leader. Watkins, a newcomer to politics, a West Point Graduate and former Army ranger.
He spent much of his adult life outside Kansas, prevailed in a seven-way Republican primary over more established candidates, some of whom criticized his skimpy voting record and reliance on a PAC financed by his father.