For Prairie Village campaign workers, election week brings new baby, primary victory

Danielle and Cole Robinson with Sharice Davids and their newborn daughter Nina Sharice last Wednesday. Submitted photo.

The scene inside the hospital room was more than a little chaotic.

The doctors were there to make their early morning rounds and check in on the newborn baby girl. But Danielle and Cole Robinson’s phones were exploding. And Sharice Davids was still trying to take in what had just happened.

After hours of waiting, the final results had been posted, and Davids had emerged from her deficit in the tally Tuesday night to defeat Brent Welder and win the Democratic nomination for the Kansas 3rd Congressional District.

Davids had woken up Wednesday morning not knowing where she stood in the race or when the final results would be posted. So with a little time on her hands, she asked if she could come meet the new baby born to the Robinsons, two of her earliest campaign workers.

It was in the car on the way over to Shawnee Mission Medical Center that Davids got word the final numbers had been posted and that she’d won the crowded primary. As Davids and her mother headed into the Robinsons’ room, calls and texts from supporters began pouring in.

“Everybody’s phones were just exploding,” Danielle recalls. “We had five minutes of, ‘Did we really just do this?’ It was kind of like there was too much emotion for any real emotion. We were all just wide eyed.”

Davids had connected with the Prairie Village residents late last year as she was exploring the idea of entering the race. Cole had done a little volunteer work on Kelly Kultala’s congressional campaign in 2014, but had gained some more robust campaign experience leading Jerry Stogsdill’s statehouse race in 2016. Friends had suggested he and Danielle as possible campaign support to Davids.

Cole and Danielle were Davids’ first dedicated campaign staff member in the area, and were instrumental in early campaign identity and operations efforts. In those early months, the campaign used the Robinsons’ Prairie Village dining room table as a war room.

“She’d be here making fundraising calls and the kids would be running around the living room,” Cole said.

When Davids earned the endorsement of EMILY’s List in May, the campaign expanded its operations and moved into a full-time headquarters office in Kansas City, Kan. Cole stepped back from day-to-day campaign work, but Danielle continued on working as the campaign communications director.

Danielle’s due date was August 12, but a visit to the doctor the week before had revealed the baby was in the breech position.

“We thought we’d get through the primary, but it didn’t quite work out like that,” Danielle said. “They said you’re going to need to have this baby on Monday one way or another, and at that point there was no fighting it.”

Danielle delivered the baby around 10 a.m. Monday morning at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in a room with Sharice Davids for Congress signs taped to the walls. She figures she got in about four total hours of sleep between Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

When the polls opened at 7 a.m., though, she was back at it as the campaign’s communications director, taking in updates from Sharice and campaign staff from the field and posting them online.

“Had the baby on Monday and was back on Twitter on Tuesday,” Danielle said.

The couple had always joked that they’d name the baby after Davids if she won. But they decided they wanted to honor the candidate whether she emerged from the primary or not. When the birth certificate official came into the room before the primary results had been released, the Robinsons knew what name they wanted to give their new daughter: Nina Sharice.