U.S. House, 3rd District: Amanda Adkins wins crowded Republican primary, Sharice Davids next

By: - August 4, 2020 10:10 pm

A sign supporting Amanda Adkins, who currently leads the 3rd Congressional district Republican primary (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

OVERLAND PARK — Amanda Adkins emerged victorious Tuesday from a crowded Republican primary for the U.S. House of Representatives in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District, in a race that focused heavily on who would match up best with Democratic incumbent Sharice Davids in the November general election.

Adkins, an Overland Park resident, defeated four challengers, tallying 31% of the vote with 567 of 642 precincts reporting. Sara Hart Weir of Mission, the former president of the National Down Syndrome Society, was second, with 23% and trailing by nearly 7,000 votes.

The race saw a record number of advance mail-in ballots, with more than 77,000 returned across the district as of Monday. Those early results in the 3rd District, which encompasses all of Wyandotte and Johnson counties, as well as part of Miami County, showed a large advantage for Adkins, which she held throughout the night.

Adkins, a Cerner executive and former chair of the Kansas Republican Party, as well as former campaign manager and advisor to former Gov. Sam Brownback, said her experience as a parent and as a businesswoman made her the most prepared to face Davids.

“There are not enough conservative, female, business-minded voices in Congress,” Adkins said. “As a life-long conservative, I have always believed the government’s role should be that of providing an economic lift to a region, not furthering dependency on the government.”

Following the election, Adkins issued a simple challenge to her forthcoming opponent.

“Sharice Davids, I have one message for you tonight and that is that we are coming for you this November,” Adkins said.

Adkins received endorsements from various big-name GOP legislators including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Most recently, Nebraska Gov. Pete Rickets weighed in with his support as a fellow Midwestern politician.

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer congratulated Adkins and denounced the Democratic incumbent.

“Sharice Davids has been nothing more than a rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi and her socialist agenda since coming to Washington and has failed to stand up for Kansas,” Emmer said. “I look forward to Amanda’s victory this fall and working with her on common-sense conservative solutions for years to come.”

Adkins’ ties to Brownback, however, were heavily scrutinized in the lead-up to the election, especially by the Kansas Democratic Party. In a recent KCUR interview, Adkins praised the former governor’s administration as being “fiscally prudent.”

“This is the latest example of how out-of-touch she is with Kansans. Hardworking families are still dealing with the fallout of the Brownback-Adkins tax experiment,” said KDP Executive Director Ben Meers. “No matter how hard she tries to distance herself from her old boss, Kansans will not forget Adkins’ involvement in our state’s largest economic failure.”

Adkins also fell under scrutiny from fellow candidates over financial support from a super PAC heavily funded by her father. The political action committee had put out ads critical of Weir.

Weir, who finished second in the election and in funding, butted heads with Adkins over the nominee’s ads claiming Weir was lying when she said she opposed Obamacare. Weir dismissed those claims, saying she wanted to see significant healthcare change.

“We need to offer a system that offers choice and free-market solutions that actually move all our citizens toward a healthier life and ensures employer-sponsored health insurance is affordable for business and organizations,” Weir said.

“I want to congratulate Amanda Adkins on her victory,” Weir said after the results came in. “As I’ve said from the beginning of this race, the most important thing for the party is that we have a candidate that can defeat Sharice Davids in November. I look forward to working to help make that happen.”

Among the other candidates in the race, Adrienne Vallejo Foster was edging out Mike Beehler for third, and Tom Love was coming in at 7%.

Davids held a kick-off event for the November election, speaking via Zoom as soon as the polls closed at 7 p.m. Davids had raised $4 million for the campaign as of July 15; as of the same date, Adkins had raised just under $1 million.

“We have so much to fight for and so much on the line,” said Davids, who defeated longtime Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder in 2018. “We cannot allow this seat to slip back to the GOP. We don’t know who my opponent will be but we do know they will be fueled by dark money and corporate special interests.”

In a statement after the race was called, Davids touted her own track record working to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs and provide relief during the coronavirus pandemic. She also criticized Adkins for trying to bring back old policies.

“I’m confident that Kansans will vote to continue the progress we’ve made together and reject Sam Brownback adviser Amanda Adkins’ plan to double down on the failures of the Brownback Administration that gutted funding for our public schools and decimated our economy, the effects of which Kansas families are still feeling today,” Davids said.

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Noah Taborda
Noah Taborda

Noah Taborda started his journalism career in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri, covering local government and producing an episode of the podcast Show Me The State while earning his bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Noah then made a short move to Kansas City, Missouri, to work at KCUR as an intern on the talk show Central Standard and then in the newsroom, reporting on daily news and feature stories.