Democrats file complaint with FEC over TV ad

Window on the West
Opinion column

by Mary Rupert

Today, a complaint was filed with the Federal Election Commission by Kansas 3rd District Democratic Chair Andy Sandler, for the Kansas Democratic Party.

The complaint alleged that there was illegal coordination between the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican Super PAC, and the Kansas Republican Party in a television ad that supported Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-3rd Dist., the incumbent.

According to a news release from a Kansas Democratic Party spokesman, the Congressional Leadership PAC (political action committee), a GOP Super PAC, is prohibited from coordinating with candidates or party committees. The Democrats’ complaint says the appearance of an officer of the Kansas Republican Party in a CLF-funded ad shows involvement of the party in key decisions about the ad and constitutes illegal coordination.

The 3rd District campaign this year between Rep. Yoder and Democratic challenger Sharice Davids has been marked by a large number of television ads with an influx of national funding. An officer of the Kansas Republican Party, Alana Zimmer-Roethle, spoke and was identified in a recent ad as a concerned mother, and was not named as a party official in the ad. She is the state party’s secretary, and also was appointed to the Kansas Lottery Commission by former Gov. Sam Brownback.

“CLF thus made an illegal in-kind contribution to the Kansas Republican Party, and the Kansas Republican Party received an illegal, excess contribution,” the Democrats’ complaint to the FEC alleged.

The complaint requested the FEC to investigate the matter, to enjoin them from further violations and to fine them.

Why have the ads gone negative so early in the campaign? It’s because the contest is so close, and it’s perceived at the national level as a possible upset.

Andy Sandler, who filed the complaint, said he is thrilled about the Democrats’ campaign this year.

In the six years he has been working in the 3rd District, he has never seen such enthusiasm as he has out of the Davids’ campaign, Sandler said.

“She has really caught fire very, very quickly,” he said.

According to a recent New York Times – Siena College Poll, Davids was up 51 percent against Yoder’s 43 percent in the district, he said.

“That’s thrilling to me, and not surprising,” Sandler said. “Yoder’s increasingly become out of touch with voters in the district.”

Yoder has increasingly tied himself to Trump, and that’s a losing strategy in the 3rd District, considering that Trump lost the district in 2016, Sandler added. That election was a bellwether to what will happen in 2018, he believes.

The state GOP, however, is currently pointing to the popularity of the national GOP, which it says has increased to 45 percent nationally, a high in recent years, and is riding the crest of economic success.

In Wyandotte County, the Democratic candidate for 3rd District often receives the most votes here, and did in 2016, but there are about five times as many voters in Johnson County.

Super PACs are throwing around $4 million into races statewide, not just the Congressional race in the 3rd District, Sandler said.

While Yoder’s supporters are throwing money around, “I think their return on investment is going to be in the negative numbers,” Sandler said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

One of the campaign issues in the 3rd District that has recently gained attention has been the Affordable Care Act and the ability of those with pre-existing conditions to have affordable insurance. Sandler said Yoder’s plan would allow those with pre-existing conditions to continue to have insurance, but would allow insurance companies to charge whatever they wanted, effectively pricing some of these individuals out of coverage.

“It violates the spirit and the letter of the Affordable Care Act, it’s supposed to be affordable,” he said.

While some people think the election outcome will be based on how many times a candidate’s name is mentioned negatively or positively on television ads, Sandler said he hopes the voters in the 3rd District do a little more homework on their own than just believe what an ad says.

“Dig a little deeper before they go to the polls,” Sandler said.

For more information on the candidates’ positions on the issues, visit:
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Mary Rupert is the editor of the Wyandotte Daily. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Wyandotte Daily.

Congressman’s opponent fails to appear

Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

Sharice Davids, a Democrat, was invited to the candidates’ forum Friday, Sept. 21, at the Congressional Forum. Despite several attempts encouraging her to attend the meeting at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, she said she had other commitments.

The forum, sponsored by the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce, is a nonpartisan organization that was established in 1968 when Larry Winn Jr., a Republican, was U.S. Representative from the Third District of Kansas. Later, U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, a Democrat, was an active supporter of the organization.

The Republican incumbent, U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, did show up with his staff members and political advisers. John Holt, a news anchorman for WDAF-TV, Fox4 News, moderated the forum. Holt rejected questions proposed by Daniel Silva, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, in favor of his own questions.

Both candidates are seen on a substantial number of television commercials. The commercials favoring Davids portray Yoder as a tool of big business; the commercials favoring Yoder portray Davids as an ultra-liberal who would increase the national debt.

Political observers believe the Third District, which includes Wyandotte and Johnson counties and a small portion of Miami County, could elect a Democrat. They explain that in the 2016 general election, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, carried the district. That could give Democrats a chance. Davids is seen as the strongest opponent that Yoder has ever faced. Davids beat out five opponents in the highly contested primary election earlier this year; Yoder had only two token primary opponents. Both Davids and Yoder are trying to appeal to the voter in the broad middle political spectrum.

Holt asked Yoder about his relationship with President Donald Trump. Yoder said he accepted the president’s invitation to join him when they attended the recent national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City, Missouri. But he said that his primary focus is representing the Third District regardless of party politics.

Yoder said he works across the aisle, cooperating with Democrats when it is in the best interest of the Third District. He said he meets with U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver regularly, a Democrat from Kansas City, Missouri, to work on common issues.

He said Davids is too far to the left when it comes to immigration and health care issues. He criticized her for calling for the elimination of immigration enforcement officers and for health care that would substantially increase the national debt. He said he has pushed for increased federal funding for the National Institute of Health, which is seeking a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Apparently Davids and Yoder will have a chance to meet. According to Davids’ website, The Kansas City Star will sponsor a televised debate Sunday, Oct. 29.

The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.
Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Wyandotte Daily.

Fundraiser held Saturday for LRA

Taylor Clark with daughters at the Leavenworth Road Association fundraiser Saturday. (Photo from Lou Braswell)

by Lou Braswell

Thanks to all those that bought tickets and stopped in for tacos Saturday at the Leavenworth Road Association fundraiser at the FOP Lodge on Leavenworth Road.

We consider our fundraiser as successful as we had over 60 stopping by to eat and linger to visit.

Firefighters from a local station stopped by to eat, they had just filled their plate, sat down with their food, dessert and drink when their radios sounded with “call to duty.” We did wrap their selections up to wait for their return. We salute our first responders as they protect our city and citizens.

Thanks to Dave at Johnnie’s West, Happy Foods North and the FOP Hall, Lodge 4.

During the event, we gained a new member, made contacts for our upcoming Halloween event at Eisenhower Center, 2901 N. 72nd, with Multiply Church. A gym full of activities for the kids, that also amazes the adults, plus treat tables by local neighborhood groups, organizations, churches, and businesses, all adds up to “Safe Halloween Fun.”

Watch for more information soon.
Lou Braswell is the executive director of the Leavenworth Road Association.

Yes, there were lines at the Leavenworth Road Association fundraiser on Saturday. (Photo from Lou Braswell)
Some firefighters dropped by the Leavenworth Road Association fundraiser before being called away on Saturday. (Photo from Lou Braswell)