Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) is in a lot of political trouble.
The rising likelihood that he’ll lose his bid for a fifth term probably explains why he has stooped to a remarkably disingenuous and laughable line of attack against his Democratic opponent, Sharice Davids, just days ahead of the Nov. 6 elections.
Yoder, 42, was swept into Congress during the 2010 Tea Party wave fueled by anger at then-President Barack Obama, winning a previously Democratic seat by nearly 20 percentage points. But this year, many voters in his swing 3rd Congressional District ― which includes western suburbs of Kansas City ― are feeling similar dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump and his policies. So with polls showing him trailing, Yoder has been talking up his independent bona fides and willingness to stand up to Trump.
But in an interview with The Kansas City Star on Saturday, Yoder went further by arguing that his opponent ― who is, again, a Democrat ― is poorly suited to stand up to Trump because she technically worked under his administration at one point.
“What is it in her track record that tells us she would actually stand up to President Trump when she worked for him?” Yoder said in the article. “She worked for the agenda. I just think it seems to be a pretty weak promise… when she already had a chance to do it and she didn’t.”
Davids served as a White House fellow with the Department of Transportation from August 2016 (when Obama was still president) to August 2017 (seven months into Trump’s presidency). She was anything but a high-ranking official with the power to change policy.
Indeed, her job was a non-partisan position that gives young Americans the chance to gain experience in public service. So it’s difficult to see how she could have done anything to “stand up” to Trump, especially since at the time she was at the Transportation Department the agency was removed from any particular controversy concerning White House policy.
Davids spokeswoman Allison Teixeira Sulier said on Sunday that it “couldn’t be clearer that Kevin Yoder is desperate and trying to hide from his record of voting with Donald Trump 92 percent of the time.”
The 38-year-old Davids is a former mixed-martial arts fighter. She and New Mexico Democrat Deb Haaland are vying to become the first Native American women to serve in Congress.
Davids’ platform includes expanding health care access, strengthening gun control and opposition to Trump’s tax breaks ― all issues on which Yoder has marched in lockstep with the president.
A recent survey conducted by The New York Times/Siena College found Yoder trailing Davids by 9 points.
This story has been updated with comment from a Davids spokeswoman.