Amanda Adkins, the Republican Party’s nominee for U.S. House in a campaign against incumbent Democrat Sharice Davids, mingled with about 25 people during a campaign stop Wednesday in De Soto. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)
DE SOTO — Republican congressional candidate Amanda Adkins neither questions integrity of the state’s voting system nor devotes precious campaign energy to former President Donald Trump’s drumbeat criticism of the 2020 election process.
The idea Trump was cheated in his loss to President Joe Biden — unsupported by evidence — has remained a prominent issue for supporters of the former president.
The subject, however, wasn’t brought up by any of 25 people attending the “Ask Amanda” informal gathering Wednesday at VFW Post 6654 in De Soto.
“Candidly, I have been so focused on winning here and being engaged with voters, I’m not focused on that,” Adkins said in a Kansas Reflector interview. “I believe the state of Kansas has a great election system, comparatively speaking, to other states.”
Questions of voter integrity in Kansas surfaced with recounting of votes from the August primary, including 556,000 from nine counties in the landslide rejection of an abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution. It would have declared women didn’t have a right to abortion.
Adkins is a former executive at Cerner and has an association with elective politics through work with former U.S. Sen. and Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican. She served as chairwoman of the Kansas Republican Party and as executive director of GOPAC, a GOP leadership organization.
In November, Adkins will be on 3rd District ballots in a race against U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, a Democrat who defeated Adkins two years ago. The congressional district was gerrymandered by the Kansas Legislature to exclude half the Democratic Party stronghold of Wyandotte County rather than the entire county. It now includes the lower half of Wyandotte County and all of Johnson, Anderson, Franklin and Miami counties.
Adkins said those at the VFW hall and other stops on the campaign trail most frequently shared anxiety about inflation wrecking the economy and their personal finances. She attributed part of the problem to massive expenditures by the federal government amid the COVID-19 pandemic that were supported by Davids and Biden.
“Every single group I’ve spent time with tonight, it’s come up every single time,” said Adkins, who believes household costs in the 3rd District increased $6,000 in the past year. “People are really sensitive to it.”
She also endorsed expansion in the nation’s domestic supply of oil and gas to put downward pressure on fuel costs at the consumer level.
Adkins, who described herself as “very pro-life,” said the U.S. Supreme Court decision to reverse a 50-year precedent in Roe vs. Wade left states to set boundaries on abortion rights. She described Davids as “fairly extreme” in her views on abortion.
The amendment to the state constitution was defeated by more than 165,000 votes, and the nine-county recount resulted in a change of 63 votes.
Adkins said the outcome demonstrated some Kansans were confused about the ballot measure while others were concerned government could slice away at personal liberties regarding medical care.
“There are a number of people who voted against it where the general theme is distrust of government. There is distrust of government,” Adkins said.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has been working to support Davids’ reelection, on Thursday accused Adkins of previously supporting a state GOP platform that included a “human life” amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The DCCC said the federal amendment could have resulted in a national abortion ban without exceptions.
“While the majority of Kansans support a woman’s right to choose, Amanda Adkins has led the charge to ban abortion without exceptions and even supported extreme personhood bills that could criminalize basic health care procedures,” said Johanna Warshaw, a DCCC spokeswoman.
On Thursday, Adkins said in a statement she didn’t support a federal ban on abortion nor “do I support any other federal policymaking related to contraception or fertility.” She said she was committed to “protecting life at every stage” as a Catholic, Republican and mother.
“As a pro-life candidate,” she said, “I will continue to be part of the dialogue on this issue at the state level, but I believe it’s not Congress’ place to impose a national abortion policy on Kansans.”
Davids responded to claiming Adkins spent years working to chip away at a woman’s right to choose while aligned with Brownback, as chair of the Kansas GOP and when considering the constitutional amendment on abortion in August.
“My position is clear: I believe people have a right to make their own health care decisions, not the government, and I have stood up against extreme politicians who want to take away that right,” Davids said. “Those are the facts, and that is the choice that voters face this November.”
Questions about accuracy of Kansas ballot counts resurfaced this week when a Wichita anti-abortion activist filed a lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court in a quest to trigger a statewide hand recount of votes on the constitutional amendment. Earlier this week, Secretary of State Scott Schwab, a candidate for reelection, said the nine-county recount should put to rest “the unfounded claims of election fraud in our state.”
In a statement on the previous recount in Johnson County, Davids said election workers verified failure of the amendment by more than 95,000 votes in the 3rd District’s voter-rich county.
“Though the extreme groups behind this process used falsehoods and conspiracy to try to overturn the will of the people, Kansas voters remain resoundingly clear,” she said. “We don’t want politicians like Amanda Adkins pushing their extreme views and making our health care decisions for us.”
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