Veteran KMBC TV political reporter Michael Mahoney spelled out the problem in a September 21 tweet: “KCK Chamber says ‘every effort’ was made to get Dem Sharice Davids to today’s KCK Chamber candidate forum. Davids campaign says she had scheduling conflict. Instead Rep Kevin Yoder gives speech and takes Q&A.” The “scheduling conflict” has never been explained.
The candidates had at least a five-week notice about the non-partisan Kansas City, Kansas Chamber Congressional Forum. The Forum has a 50 year history. Historically, every candidate from both sides of the aisle has participated. Davids appear to have been the first serious candidate to blow the organizers off.
This was not the only debate she has ducked. “It’s stunning that Sharice Davids would refuse to participate in debates hosted by longstanding, respected organizations like the KCK Chamber Congressional Forum or the Johnson County Public Policy Council,” said Yoder campaign manager C.J. Grover. “It clearly illustrates how out of touch she is with respect to our community here in the Third District.”
Davids, for her part, is claiming that she has accepted an invitation for a televised debate on October 29 from the Kansas City Star. “I believe that it’s important for voters to hear directly from the candidates in this race,” said Davids disingenuously. She added, “I look forward to discussing Congressman Yoder’s long history of accepting millions of dollars from special interests and then voting to protect those donors, while making middle class Kansans pay more for taxes and health insurance.”
Following a conversation with Davids, Johnson County pundit Steve Rose suggests why it is she is not eager to debate Yoder. Rose notes that she is aware she “flubbed” earlier this summer in advocating the abolition of ICE. “That slip-up is probably one reason why she insisted before our meeting that we keep much of our conversation off the record unless we agreed otherwise,” said Rose. “After all, Davids is a political novice, and her positions on many key issues are still gestating.”
If Davids shows up for the Star debate it is because she will have the home court advantage.