President Donald Trump won Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District by more than 28 points in 2016, but a growing number of political experts list the district as one Democrats may be able to flip in the 2018 midterm elections.
Republican Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins announced she wouldn’t seek re-election to the seat last year, and the race has drawn several Republican candidates and one well-funded Democrat. That may be why the political scientist Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics lists the seat as the 11th most vulnerable to flipping in 2018.
Seven Republican candidates are vie for the GOP nomination, while former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis seems poised to win the Democratic nomination.
Sabato writes, “Deeply Republican Kansas can be a tease for Democrats, as former state Minority Leader Paul Davis (D) discovered the hard way when he lost to unpopular Gov. Sam Brownback (R)in a surprise.”
Davis won the 2nd district, which includes Lawrence, Topeka, and Leavenworth, in his 2014 campaign for Governor, but it wasn’t enough to win the statewide election. In 2016, Trump won the 2nd District by a nearly 30-point margin.
Sabato writes that Davis will likely be better funded than the eventual GOP nominee. Davis reported raising $400,000 on his latest campaign finance report. Republican state Sens. Steve Fitzgerald and Caryn Tyson, Republicans, both reported having about $150,000 of cash available. Other Republican candidates, including state Rep. Kevin Jones, Basehor City Council member Vernon Fields, Matt Bevens, and Tyler Tannahill reported less or weren’t in the race at the time of the last filing deadline.
“Democrats are circling this seat as one to watch, but Republicans are still favored,” Sabato says.