Kevin Yoder’s battle for his political life takes new twists

Kevin Yoder

Kevin Yoder

His critics contend Republican Kevin Yoder is serving his fourth and final two-year term as the congressman from Kansas’ 3rd District.

Here’s hoping they are right.

Democrats for good reasons point out Yoder refused to say how he would have voted on the Affordable Care Act replacement plan in Congress and won’t have open, face-to-face town halls.

Plenty of evidence shows Yoder will be battling for his political life in 2018 with the voters of Johnson and Wyandotte counties.

— On Wednesday, a “town hall meeting” will be held in Yoder’s district. He’s not expected to attend.

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And let’s be honest. He might have good reason to think the get-together is stacked against him. One of the guests is directing the Democrats’ campaign to replace Yoder next year.

— Democrat Jay Sidie has announced he is already raising money for another bid to unseat Yoder.

Sidie and other Democrats who hope to win  the 3rd District election are encouraged by the results of the Kansas 4th District race last week. Democratic candidate James Thompson did quite well though Ron Estes beat him in the GOP-dominated part of the state.

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However, Sidie did not turn out to be the kind of hard-charging candidate necessary to bring Yoder down in 2016.

Other Democrats could have good reasons to test the political waters in a 2018 primary.

— On Tuesday, Yoder held another of his telephone town halls. It’s his preferred way of talking to constituents; he claims it’s a better way to answer specific questions.

But these kinds of town halls by politicians also allow them to avoid tough, direct, face-to-face questions. Those are what can lead to viral videos of congressional representatives yelling at constituents.

Yoder’s refusal to talk directly in unscripted situations with potential voters will keep coming back to haunt him.

Defenders of Yoder point out he recently voted to prevent internet service providers from selling browsing history. He also said he’s prepared to battle Donald Trump’s efforts to cut funding for the National Institute of Health.  Both are proper stands.

Alas, the GOP-dominated Congress went ahead and approved the internet browsing issue. The proposed research cut could be up in the air in Congress for months during budget negotiations.

Plus, Yoder’s failure to be honest with constituents about the health care replacement plan was and is a huge failure. He spent six-plus years talking about the need to repeal Obamacare, then flunked the test of being open with the public at a crucial time.

Finally, the Yoder Victory Fund recently fired a warning shot at opponents, saying it had raised more than $500,000 in the first three months of this year.

Gotta love this quote from Jennifer Dreiling, finance director for Yoder for Congress: “As we saw last cycle, Democrats will stop at nothing to try and steal this seat from the voters, so it’s been pretty amazing to see so many Kansans step up to support Kevin right away this year.”

Hmm. “Steal this seat” is an odd way to refer to what’s actually going to happen: People will show up in 2018 to decide whether Yoder keeps his seat in Congress.

No stealing going on. Just voting to — possibly — put a fresh face in Congress from Kansas’ 3rd District.

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