Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder may face a challenging environment as he looks toward reelection in this year’s midterms — a notoriously difficult cycle for members of a first-term president’s party — but he’ll certainly have the resources to make his case.
Yoder brought in $500,000 in the fourth quarter of 2017, and now has more than $1.75 million cash-on-hand, a warchest that dwarfs that of his Democratic challengers as he attempts to secure a fifth term in office. According to Yoder’s reelection campaign, the fourth quarter fundraising total was more than the entire Democratic field of challengers combined.
Democrats see Yoder as vulnerable given the district’s narrow support of Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, and Yoder’s continued support of Trump’s agenda the past two years.
Yoder has voted with President Trump 92.3 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight’s tracker. Moreover, special elections during Trump’s time in office have seen affluent, suburban voters like those that reside in District 3 bucking Republicans in significant numbers. Yoder’s office has apparently hinted that they’ve seen his numbers affected by the president’s unpopularity in the area.
But no clear frontrunner has emerged in the Democratic race to challenge Yoder for his seat. Retired attorney and community healthcare executive Andrea Ramsey had a good deal of early momentum and led fundraising in the race, but dropped out in December after a 2005 lawsuit in which a former subordinate accused her of sexual harassment became public. (Ramsey has strongly denied any wrongdoing, saying the man’s accusations were lies).
Prairie Village teacher Tom Niermann and Bonner Springs labor attorney Brent Welder now have the largest fundraising totals among the Democrats, but neither have close to the amount Ramsey had raised. Niermann shows 2017 contributions of $321,958 for 2017 and cash on hand of $184,832 as of Jan. 1. His campaign raised $139,493 in the fourth quarter. Welder’s campaign reports it raised $255,000 in 2017 and has $178,872 cash on hand. Approximately $54,000 of Welder’s fundraising total came in the form of personal loans, however.
And the Democratic field may grow. Rumor in Johnson County political circles has it that two more candidates are considering entering the race in the coming weeks.