In stunning turn, Democrat Andrea Ramsey drops out of congressional race for Yoder’s seat

Andrea Ramsey took part in a protest of Kevin Yoder's vote for the American Health Care Act in May.
Andrea Ramsey took part in a protest of Kevin Yoder’s vote for the American Health Care Act in May.

Andrea Ramsey, the retired attorney and former community health center executive who gained early momentum in the race for the 3rd Congressional District Democratic nomination, announced today she is pulling out of the race.

Ramsey said that her political opponents had launched a whisper campaign against her in regard to a lawsuit filed by an employee she fired during her time at Lab One. The employee claimed Ramsey had fired him because he refused to have a sexual relationship with her. The suit was later dropped. Ramsey said the accusations were false, and that she never had the chance to clear her name because she was not a named party.

However, word of the accusations apparently prompted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to pull its support for Ramsey’s campaign.

“We are in a national moment where rough justice stands in place of careful analysis, nuance and due process,” Ramsey said in a statement today. “On balance, it is far more important to me that women are stepping forward to tell their stories and confront their harassers than it is to continue our campaign. But, DCCC’s decision is bad for Democratic chances to flip KS-03.”

Ramsey appeared to have been a formidable candidate, having received the early support of Emily’s List, and having a network of personal contacts that stretched from her home in southern Johnson County up to Wyandotte County, where she once ran a health clinic. The prospect of a woman running against Rep. Kevin Yoder, who supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 elections, buoyed many Democrats’ hopes that they might be able to flip the seat as the resistance to Republicans in the Trump era among suburban woman continues to grow.

Ramsey’s exit would appear to offer the greatest benefit to Prairie Village history teacher Tom Niermann, who entered the race for the Democratic nomination in July, and who was second among the Democratic candidates behind Ramsey in funds raised.

Ramsey’s full statement is below:

For the past six months, it has been my privilege and honor to meet folks from all walks of life in our district as we commenced our campaign, seeking to unseat Representative Kevin Yoder. I have listened to your stories, and explained why and how I would be your voice and actually represent your interests in Washington.

My sharpest contrast with Rep. Yoder is that I have led a real life, not a life calculated for photo ops and political gain. I have spoken openly about adversity, including my first husband’s struggles with addiction and his subsequent death. I have lived a full life as a health care advocate, lawyer, businesswoman, proud mom of two young adults and the wife of a retired Army Colonel who served our country in Vietnam.

When I was the head of human resources at a local company, I had to make difficult business decisions on a daily basis concerning budgets, training initiatives, compensation and benefits, workforce hiring and workforce terminations. A termination decision is always the most wrenching, because it affects not only a person’s livelihood, but also an individual’s dignity and sense of self. Sometimes employees don’t take the decision well, and do things they wouldn’t otherwise do because they are angry in that moment, seeking to retaliate.

Twelve years ago, I eliminated an employee’s position. That man decided to bring a lawsuit against the company (not against me). He named me in the allegations, claiming I fired him because he refused to have sex with me. That is a lie. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated the allegations and decided not to pursue the complaint; the man later decided to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit. Because I wasn’t a named party, I didn’t have any opportunity to participate in its resolution.

Since I was in sixth grade, I wanted to be a lawyer. What drew me to the field of law was the idea of due process, that both sides presented their case and an objective judge or jury weighed the evidence. I have been swept up in decisions without due process. A man sued my company twelve years ago and made false accusations against me. Had the false allegations been brought against me directly, I would have fought to exonerate my name and my reputation. I would have sued the disgruntled, vindictive employee for defamation. Now, twelve years later this suit is being used to force me out of my race for Congress. Let me be clear: I never engaged in any of the alleged behavior. And the due process that I love, that drew me to the field of law, is totally denied.

My opponents have chosen to use these false allegations against me for political purposes, not only engaging in a whisper campaign, but also contacting political and news organizations. These false allegations are disgraceful and demean the moment this country is in. For far too long, complaints of sexual harassment have been completely ignored. The timely and thorough investigation of complaints is a very good thing. We are seeing real change in how harassment is being handled from Topeka to Washington. We should always make it as safe as possible for people who have been wronged to come forward, and I have based my professional career as an employment lawyer and human resources executive on that principle.

In its rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment, the Democratic Party has implemented a zero tolerance standard. For me, that means a vindictive, terminated employee’s false allegations are enough for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to decide not to support our promising campaign. We are in a national moment where rough justice stands in place of careful analysis, nuance and due process.

On balance, it is far more important to me that women are stepping forward to tell their stories and confront their harassers than it is to continue our campaign. But, DCCC’s decision is bad for Democratic chances to flip KS-03. Our campaign has amassed hundreds of committed volunteers, thousands of individual donations, endorsements and national attention. I have been the consistent front-runner, raising more money than all of my other Democratic opponents combined. I had the clearest path to defeat Kevin Yoder, given my health care, legal and business background and deep ties to both Wyandotte and Johnson Counties. The DCCC, as gatekeeper of endorsements and campaign funding has made its choice, once again putting its thumb on the scales by not allowing the democratic primary process to proceed. It must live with the consequences of its shortsighted and reactive decision to eviscerate our campaign by not providing it with structural or financial support.

As a first-time candidate, I am disappointed and disillusioned by the political process. However, I have been humbled and honored by the grace, support and encouragement shown me by the citizens of Miami, Wyandotte and Johnson Counties. It has been an honor to seek to represent you. I will continue to seek future opportunities to serve our community and fight for our Republic, just not as your Congresswoman.

Best personal regards,