It’s quite possible Kansas will be an entirely “red state” this year, as the sole swing district is leaning Republican. Long-time Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore might have had a hard time hanging onto this seat given the anti-Democratic electoral mood.
But an unknown probably would have clinched this seat for Republican primary victor Kevin Yoder. Moore’s wife, Stephene, benefits from his name recognition and has kept the seat somewhat in play for Democrats.
Candidates for Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District (two-year term)
(This district includes all or parts of Douglas, Johnson and Wyandotte counties, including Lawrence, Shawnee, Overland Park and Kansas city. See a boundary map here.)
Candidate: Stephene Moore
Political experience: Moore has no political experience, though her husband, Dennis Moore, is the previous representative for the district. She works as a Project Coordinator for the University of Kansas’ Internship Program and is involved in numerous community organizations.
Professional experience: Moore is a certified childbirth educator and labor and delivery nurse. She works at SunWise, a skin cancer awareness and prevention program.
Key issues: According to her website, Moore is in favor of increased energy options for America, in particular wind-power production, as Kansas is one of the top states in wind power production. She says she wants to assure conservation and energy efficiency projects are part of any emerging energy plan to increase America’s independence from foreign oil.
She believes the key to education is found at the local level, and she opposes unfunded federal mandates. She would encourage local collaboration with educators when it comes to federal education issues.
Endorsements: The Blue Dog Coalition, American Nurses Association and the Sierra Club have endorsed Stephene Moore, while the Kansas National Education Association is recommending Moore.
Chances of winning seat: Democrats don’t seem poised to spend to defend this open seat from a takeover, and as the polling gap widens in formerly safe districts, it seems unlikely Moore will receive much financial help in saving her husband’s district. The incumbent voted for all of the unpopular bills on the Democratic Congress’ docket, so she has to defend her husband’s record against Yoder in a swing district. It’s unlikely she will persevere.
Candidate: Kevin Yoder
Political experience: Yoder is a four-term Kansas state representative for the 20th District, including Overland Park and Leawood. He serves on the Judiciary Committee and is the House Appropriations Committee Chairman. Previously, he was the chairman of the House General Government Budget Committee.
Professional experience: Yoder is a partner at Speer and Holliday, LLP in Olathe. He has been a special assistant in the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Counternarcotics.
Key issues: Yoder is strongly in favor of securing the borders, according to his website, and would eliminate any incentives to bring illegal immigrants into the country. He’d restrict their access to public services, make sure they weren’t employed by businesses and strengthen legal immigration processes.
He is in favor of clean, cheap energy and says private industry is the best innovator in that arena. He would like the national energy policy to lower the cost of developing alternative energy and investment in infrastructural upgrades.
Endorsements: Yoder is endorsed by the National Rifle Association, Kansans for Government Reform PAC and Kansas Rep. Lance Kinzer.
Chances of winning seat: Yoder won the money race, according to OpenSecrets.org. He raised, spent and retained roughly double the numbers his opponent has managed to secure this season. Though it’s far from a knockout at this point, Yoder seems to be well on his way to winning this seat.
Key Differences between Kevin Yoder and Stephene Moore
Jobs: Moore acknowledges that the economic climate is bad and would improve matters by encouraging initiatives to increase clean-energy jobs and encourage job training programs in the district. Yoder says he will fight to remove layers of bureaucracy encumbering job growth, including regulatory burdens and taxes. He wants taxpayers to keep more of their money and would make the Bush tax cuts permanent.
Health care: Yoder says he will repeal the health care reform bill, stating this is a priority for him. He believes it will raise taxes, increase insurance premiums and drastically cut Medicare. Moore states that the new law isn’t perfect, but notes the benefits it delivers, such as closing the Medicare donut hole, reducing the deficit and preventing denial of health care based on pre-existing conditions. She would try to lower the cost of health care further for families.
Kansas’s 3rd U.S. Congressional District
Location: The Kansas 3rd District extends from Kansas City and the Missouri border west to Lawrence.
2008 results: Democrat Dennis Moore beat Republican Nick Jordan 56 percent to 40 percent.
Demographics: According to the U.S. Census, 76.8 percent of the district is white, 9.1 percent Hispanic, 8.4 percent black, 3.3 percent Asian and 0.5 percent American Indian or Alaska Native.
The Cook Partisan Index gives the Kansas 3rd District a rating of R+3, awarding a slight edge to Republican candidates in this district.