Statehouse candidate Laura Smith-Everett drops out of 2020 District 17 race, throws support to Jo Ella Hoye

Democrat Laura Smith-Everett has dropped out of the 2020 race for the District 17 seat in the Kansas House.

Saying she wanted to put all of her focus on running for the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees, Laura Smith-Everett this morning announced she was abandoning her planned run for the statehouse in 2020 and would instead be putting her support behind Jo Ella Hoye.

Both Smith-Everett and Hoye filed to run as Democrats for the District 17 seat in the House of Representatives following incumbent Republican Tom Cox’s announcement that he would be running for the District 10 Senate seat held by Mary Pilcher-Cook next year.

But, in a message posted on her Facebook page Monday morning, Smith-Everett said that after consideration over the past couple weeks she felt compelled to put all of her focus on this fall’s JCCC Board of Trustees race:

As you know, I have taught for 16 years in urban schools. Equity and inclusion are issues I am most passionate about. These College supporters felt I would be a strong voice for our young people building a foundation for success, no matter their economic background, and that with the experience of my campaign team, I was in a uniquely suited position to run a county wide campaign, a task that can seem very daunting, and sometimes makes recruiting for the Trustee Board difficult.

I have deliberated on this request very seriously for the last two weeks. I love my neighbors and House District 17, which is why I sacrificed so hard during the last campaign cycle, but I also respect my primary opponent who filed shortly after I did, and believe in her vision of a gun sense future for our community and our state.

I spoke with my dedicated campaign volunteers, to see if they were prepared to conduct a county wide race less than a year after completing a very labor intensive house race last fall. Every one of my volunteers has committed their support to whatever race I wanted to choose, and believe my education experience and my passion for our students would lead me to be successful.

With the support of my family and my campaign staff, and after careful consideration, I have decided my advocacy and passion for public education, as well as my commitment to provide equatable and inclusive opportunities for all students makes me uniquely suited for the JCCC Board of Trustees. I will be withdrawing from the House District 17 race and putting my support behind Jo Ella for Kansas for that race, and my team and I are prepared to work this campaign cycle to ensure a prosperous Johnson County Community College, one of the best community colleges in the country.

No Republicans have announced plans to seek the District 17 seat in the 2020 cycle at this point.

Results from the 2018 elections suggest District 17, which covers parts of Shawnee, Lenexa and Lake Quivira, could be an attractive target to pick up a seat for Democrats. The district voted 57-37 for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Laura Kelly over Republican Kris Kobach; and 53-45 for Democratic Congressional candidate Sharice Davids over Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder. Voters there also supported the Democratic candidates for secretary of state, attorney general and state treasurer.