Sharice Davids gets a boost of sorts … from Republicans.
The National Republicans Congressional Committee cancelled $1.2 million worth of campaign advertising that would have supported the incumbent, Rep. Kevin Yoder in Kansas. The Hill newspaper said it’s a sign “that Republicans are pessimistic about Yoder's chances of holding his Kansas City-area district.”
Yoder is still getting support from other conservative groups. The Hill said the Congressional Leadership Fund has spent about $1.8 million on television advertisements on Yoder’s behalf. And the group still has $750,000 booked in the Kansas City media market for the election's final four weeks.
But the money story is a good one for Davids. She has raised more money than Yoder, topping him by more than $1.6 million over the past three months. In fact, the Kansas City Star says her $2.7 million since that she has collected “appears to shatter records for a Democrat in the suburban Kansas City congressional district where Davids is challenging Yoder.”
Davids, Ho Chunk, will debate Yoder in Kansas City on October 29. “I believe that it's important for voters to hear directly from the candidates in this race,” said Davids. “That's why I did six forums during the primary and why I have accepted a fair and public debate with Congressman Yoder accessible to the largest number of voters. I look forward to discussing Congressman Yoder’s long history of accepting millions of dollars from special interests and then voting to protect those donors, while making middle class Kansans pay more for taxes and health insurance.”
Monday Davids was endorsed by former President Barack Obama. He tweeted a list of candidates that he supported who are working “to expand opportunity for all of us and to restore dignity, honor, and compassion to public service.”
Davids was a White House fellow during the Obama administration. She would be one of so many “firsts” in Congress, including being the first Native American woman to serve in Congress (possibly one of three). She was also featured in a New York Times piece about a “rainbow wave” in this election. The Times said a record number of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender candidates are running for office in November
President Donald Trump tweeted his full endorsement of Yoder in July. Yoder is seeking a fifth term in the Kansas-City area 3rd District.
One Republican who is getting good news is Rep. Markwayne Mullin. He is running for re-election in Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District. A new poll by Oklahoma’s News On 6 says Mullin has a twenty-point lead over challenger Jason Nichols. That is the only congressional race in the country where both major party candidates are tribal citizens, both from the Cherokee Nation.
Last week the Tulsa World endorsed Mullin as well as Rep. Tom Cole, Chickasaw, for re-election.
In New Mexico, Yvette Herrell, also Cherokee, is showing a lead in polls for the New Mexico 2nd Congressional District. Herrell is a Republican. The Albuquerque Journal poll showed Herrell with support from 48 percent of likely voters and 41 percent said they favored the Democrat, Xochitl Torres Small. (And speaking of money, the Republican campaign committee will put more money into this race. The New Mexico Political Report says the new ad features “images of anarchist protesters, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. It isn’t subtle, but it reflects other races around the country, focusing on Pelosi while giving a small nod to the taxes rather than President Donald Trump or specifics on the tax bill signed into law by Trump.”
In the Seattle suburbs, former state Sen. Dino Rossi, Tlingit, is running for the 8th Congressional District against Democrat Kim Schrier. A poll by The New York Times Upshot/Siena College poll, pegged the race as even. Schrier showed 46 percent support, Republican Dino Rossi at 45 percent, with 9 percent undecided. This district has never sent a Democrat to Congress.
Polling in the Utah 3rd Congressional District, shows James Singer, Navajo, trails his opponent, Rep. John Curtis by more than forty points. Still Singer told News Utah 4 that other numbers are worth watching, too. According to several polls, the number one issue for Utah voters in 2018 is healthcare. Singer says he supports the Affordable Care Act.
“I think it’s important to recognize that healthcare is not a commodity, it is a human right. And so, we need to go beyond just what the Affordable Care Act does and move to a single payer type of health care system. This will be less expensive for us in the long run. And it will also help small businesses because they won’t have to provide those kinds of benefits for their employees,” he told News Utah 4.
How tough is it to be a third party candidate for Congress? One answer came from Minnesota last week. There was a picture in the Minnesota Post showing three candidates at a debate. The caption read: “Eighth District congressional candidates DFLer Joe Radinovich, left, and Republican Pete Stauber, right, engage each other as Independence Party candidate Skip Sandman, center, looks on.”
Looks on? Looks on. And the story barely mentions Sandman and skips the reasons why he is running. That makes it tough for voters. How can a third party candidate be considered by voters without a forum for discourse?
Among other issues, Sandman says Minnesota the result of what happens when corporate powers rise over the voice of our citizens and influence our democracy. Many communities in the state are divided by the prospect of more mining in the region, including in areas where tribal communities collect rice.
In the debate, Sandman did get a little more notice from Minnesota Public Radio. “Sandman said the nation needs to do a better job vetting immigrants and should stop targeting certain people,” the network said. "If you're brown, you're going down, and that's got to stop because that's not what America is about … Every last one of you people sitting here in this audience, if you're not Native American, you are immigrants."
But the question of media attention is an interesting one. Two years ago the national media made some note about Denise Juneau’s bid for Congress. But this year there have been dozens of national and international profiles of Deb Haaland, Sharice Davids and Paulette Jordan. It’s been hard to keep up.
One early piece, for example, was in The New York Times on Native women running for office. That was published in March and really set the tone for national coverage. Last week the Canadian Broadcasting Company weighed in on The National. And last month Marie Claire posted this: “On Friday afternoon, Hillary Clinton informally endorsed four trailblazing Democratic women in their midterm races, writing on Twitter: "We'd all be lucky to see these four extraordinary candidates win their races for Congress this fall." Among her endorsees were Stacey Abrams, the progressive and popular Democratic nominee for governor in Georgia, and Deb Haaland, tipped to be the first-ever Native American woman in Congress.” Finally, in a video that’s worth a peek, Haaland talked to Daily Kos at the She The People conference about why she’s running … and how to get more Native Americans involved in campaigns.
Indian Country Today will stream a live coast-to-coast newscast on election day partnering with FNX / First Nations Experience and Native Voice One. The newscast will begin at 6 pm Pacific / 9 pm Eastern.
Mark Trahant is editor of Indian Country Today. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Follow him on Twitter -@TrahantReports
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