Democrat Jay Sidie began raising funds this week for another run for Congress in Kansas 3rd District, which includes Johnson County. A political scientist from the University of Kansas believes he won’t be the only one on that side to do so, and we may be surprised by who does run.
“There will be other Democrats running in the 3rd,” said Patrick Miller. “I’m not going to go on record with the gossip mill. There are other people who will be announcing there. I can pretty confidently say, there will probably be a Democratic primary in that district.”
The relative success of James Thompson in the much more conservative 4th district combined with a strong showing by Hillary Clinton in 2016 makes the thought of a run attractive to some potential Democratic candidates who may never have run for office before.
“People who don’t have a lot of political experience can often make extremely good candidates,” said Miller. “I often hear in the Kansas media people asking, what’s the Democratic bench, who do you have, you only have so many elected officials. In other states, they ask that about Republicans, too, where Republicans don’t do well. If we look at elections around the country, there are a lot of people who get labeled political nobodies, because they’re not sitting office holders who come in and they win seats for the US House, Senate, Governor and they make very good first-time candidates.”
In fact, that thought is not limited only to the 3rd district, but also to the 2nd, where incumbent Lynn Jenkins has said she’s not running, and Democrat Paul Davis and Republican Steve Fitzgerald have already declared.
“As we’re looking at the Democratic nomination in the 3rd, maybe if Yoder runs for something else, the Republican nomination and if you’re looking at the 2nd district, which is open, I would not necessarily discount a candidate who isn’t coming in with a lot of political experience.”
Both seats are up for election again in November of 2018, with a potential primary in August of that year.