© 2024 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
KMUW will carry President Joe Biden's address from the Oval Office beginning at 7 pm CT, Wednesday, July 24, 2024. Listen at 89.1 fm or through the online stream, or click here to watch.

Kansas' Davids Is Early Target Of National Republican Super PAC

One day after Rep. Sharice Davids was sworn in, the Congressional Leadership Fund released an ad attacking her vote for Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker.
Congressional Leadership Fund
One day after Rep. Sharice Davids was sworn in, the Congressional Leadership Fund released an ad attacking her vote for Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas' 3rd District had been in office for less than 24 hours when Republicans came out swinging with an attack ad.

"With her very first vote in Congress, Sharice Davids caved to the party bosses and voted to support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker," says a female narrator, with chilling music in the background.

The ad was paid for by the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), a super PAC tied to leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives. Local and national Republicans have suggested that Davids, who beat incumbent Kevin Yoder by nine points, had promised to not vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker.

The ad quotes Davids in an interview with KCUR's Up To Datebefore the election, in which she told host Steve Kraske: "I want new leadership across the board."

During the campaign, Davids was noncommittal when asked whether she would support Pelosi. Three weeks after the election, however, Davids announced that she would vote for the California Democrat.

The CLF spent $20,000 producing the spot and distributing it, according to Federal Election Commission records. The CLF said the Davids ad, along with ads targeting five other freshmen Democrats, was distributed on digital platforms only and not on broadcast TV. The spot landed on Jan. 4, one day after the new Congress was sworn in.

CLF spent $2.8 million opposing Davids in the general election.

Davids responded to the ad with a fundraising email with an all-caps "ALERT" in the subject line.

Davids responded to the ad with a fundraising email.
Credit U.S. House of Representatives
Davids responded to the ad with a fundraising email.

"The right-wing special interests are upset that they've lost the automatic 'yes' vote that used to hold this seat, and they're sure to do (and spend!) everything they can to try and defeat Sharice in 2020," the email said.

Davids' campaign said it does not plan to answer the attack with its own ad.

These type of early attacks by party committees on radio or in newspapers began in the 1990s, according to University of Kansas political science professor Patrick Miller.

"The only things that are different are that party campaign committees are often acting through their allied super PACS to do this advertising, and we're seeing it on digital because technology has changed," Miller told KCUR in an email.

He said tying Davids to Pelosi probably won't work in Johnson and Wyandotte counties.

"I think these attacks on party leaders are much more for the base than the general public," Miller said.

He also said this early attack might be good for Davids, giving her a chance to fundraise early by reminding supporters that her re-election will be expensive.

"The more that she can remind her supporters of that and build her campaign war chest early, the better for her that is," Miller said.

Sam Zeffis KCUR's metro reporter. You can follow Sam on Twitter @samzeff

Copyright 2019 KCUR 89.3

Sam covers education for KCUR and the Kansas News Service. Before joining the station in August 2014 he covered health and education for KCPT.
Sam Zeff
Sam grew up in Overland Park and was educated at the University of Kansas. After working in Philadelphia where he covered organized crime, politics and political corruption he moved on to TV news management jobs in Minneapolis and St. Louis. Sam came home in 2013 and covered health care and education at KCPT. He came to work at KCUR in 2014. Sam has a national news and documentary Emmy for an investigation into the federal Bureau of Prisons and how it puts unescorted inmates on Grayhound and Trailways buses to move them to different prisons. Sam has one son and is pretty good in the kitchen.