Could Super-Red Kansas Elect a Democrat to Congress? The Star asks in a headline last week.
The answer is no.
A tighter race makes for more interesting political coverage, but the race between Congressman Kevin Yoder and some Democrat the Teamsters found collecting union money in Mission Hills isn't close. It's a Katie Ledecky 11 seconds swimming way out front heading to a world record race. Yoder is swimming alone way ahead of the pack.
The Star trots out a political scientist from the University of Virginia Center of Politics, Larry Sabato, who says that the Kansas 3rd District has moved from "safe Republican" to "likely Republican." Sabato moved Yoder's race due to the unpopularity of Donald Trump and Sam Brownback. Clearly the Democrat strategy in all Kansas races is "At Least Our Guy Isn't Sam Brownback." No policy debates.
Yoder's opponent, Jay Sidie, was literally plucked out of a cocktail party by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Sidie has raised virtually no money -- only $113,000 at last report, in contrast to Yoder's large war chest. The Star calls Yoder's $2 million in funds an advantage of incumbency. It's true, but... really? If Sidie was at all serious about his race, wouldn't he be out fundraising? Some primary challengers in much smaller Statehouse races came close to raising what Sidie has raised so far.
Here's what's really going on: The Dems are attempting to make it appear to its donor class as if there's a chance they may pick up enough seats, 30, to take back control of the House, and hand the House Speaker keys back to Nancy Pelosi.
No matter how much Kansans may dislike Trump or the Governor, the vast majority of Kansans would probably prefer losing a limb to allowing Pelosi to drive the USS House into an iceberg.
Meanwhile, the Star's quest for an interesting race completely ignores the fact that the 3rd District, though blue for many years, is a different district than it was when Congressman Dennis Moore overstayed his Washington welcome. The lines have been redrawn, and the people of Kansas have moved considerably further right.
Sidie's hopes rest on the DCCC pouring money into the 3rd District. Anyone with fiscal sense should recognize throwing money into this district in support of a candidate who has almost no qualifications for the Congressional job he seeks is about as reasonable as tossing money into the toilet. (Although this seems to be a common theme with Democrats: Just spend more of other people's money!)
Yoder is way ahead in this race, but don't just take my word for it. The headline is even more laughable considering a Public Opinion Strategies Poll from last week showing Yoder ahead by 17 points. Yoder is above 50 percent in the poll, 53 percent to 36 percent.
The Star and Larry Sabato are selling a fallacy, but no one with any smarts is buying.