Democrat Davids wins reelection to U.S. House along with Kansas’ three GOP incumbents

Republican U.S. Sen. Moran prevails in campaign to earn a third term

By: - November 8, 2022 2:00 pm
U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, right, embraced Kansas Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes at an Aug. 2 primary election watch party in Overland Park. Davids won reelection to a third term Tuesday by defeating Republican Amanda Adkins. (Lily O'Shea Becker for the Kansas Reflector)

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, right, embraced Kansas Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes at an Aug. 2 primary election watch party in Overland Park. Davids won reelection to a third term Tuesday by defeating Republican Amanda Adkins. (Lily O’Shea Becker for the Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Third District Congresswoman Sharice Davids survived a familiar challenge Tuesday night by defeating Republican Amanda Adkins for the second time in a campaign dominated by economic anxieties, abortion rights and partisan alliances.

Davids, a Democrat running for reelection in a gerrymandered district with a larger rural constituency, prevailed over Adkins by a larger percentage than in 2020. Unofficial results indicated Davids held 55% or 158,557 votes to Adkins’ 43% or 123,318 in this latest showdown. Libertarian Steven Hobe took 2%, with about 42 of 757 precincts not reporting.

“For the past four years, we have come together to tackle tough problems and weather tough times,” Davids said on election night. “We have found a path forward for our community that is built on opportunity, respect and hope. Tonight, we chose to ignore those who want to divide us and instead continue moving forward — together.”

In 2020, Davids won election with 53.5% and Adkins settling at 43.8%. Adkins, a former Cerner executive, had been working toward a rematch since that fateful outcome. Davids understood she would be targeted in her bid for a third term, especially with control of the U.S. House at stake.

Davids attacked Adkins on the campaign trail for supporting an amendment to the Kansas Constitution that was defeated in August and could have allowed a ban on abortion in Kansas. In addition, Davids sought to link Adkins to former Gov. Sam Brownback. Adkins managed a Brownback campaign for U.S. Senate and led the Kansas Republican Party.

Adkins worked to tag Davids as a mirror image of President Biden and claimed Democrats were unable to control inflation, block the flow of illegal drugs from Mexico or curtail violent crime.

In a concession statement, Adkins said she was honored to represent the Republican Party as a nominee for Congress. She thanked her volunteers and people who embraced her political vision.

“Though tonight did not bring the outcome we all hoped for, I will never stop fighting for opportunity and prosperity for every Kansan,” Adkins said.

The 3rd District traditionally comprising Wyandotte and Johnson counties was redrawn by the GOP-led Legislature to lower the bar for Adkins, but Davids positioned herself as the frontrunner in recent polling. Redistricting removed the upper half of Wyandotte County, among the most diverse parts of the state, and replaced it with a more homogeneous population in Anderson, Franklin, Miami and Johnson counties and the bottom tier of Wyandotte County.

In other Kansas congressional races, Republicans U.S. Rep. Tracey Mann of the 1st District, U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner of the 2nd District and U.S. Rep. Ron Estes of the 4th District won reelection to another two-year term.

Mann, who will represent a congressional district that adds Lawrence starting in January, said freedom was on the ballot in Kansas and across the nation. He shared optimism Republicans would win a majority in the U.S. House and displace House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.

“If you grow government, you are going to shrink freedom,” he said. “But if you shrink government, you grow freedom. Tonight we begin to take back our great country.”

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Republican, captured a third term in the Senate by defeating Democratic nominee Mark Holland.

“I’m proud of the work we have accomplished to make Kansas a place where you can start a business, feed the world, build a rocket, cure cancer and advance ideas that benefit our state and nation,” Moran said.

Holland offered a dire portrayal of what would occur if the GOP took control of the House and Senate in Washington, D.C. He said a sweep by the GOP would give conservatives “full permission to go after birth control, gay marriage, enact a federal abortion ban and much more.” He said Republicans would seek to weaken benefits under Social Security and Medicare.

“It’s the most powerful thing you can do to fight back against those who want to take our democracy away,” Holland said in a last-minute effort to drive turnout.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.

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