OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A couple last minute changes led to a game of musical chairs Wednesday in the 3rd District.
Democrat Sharice Davids initially committed in August to a forum hosted by the Johnson County Bar Association, an entity that does not endorse candidates or contribute to campaigns.
Rep. Kevin Yoder told the association he could not attend in person because of scheduled votes, but he provided a five-minute video detailing his positions and also offered to answer questions via Skype or phone.
That changed around 8 p.m. Tuesday night when Yoder’s campaign called the bar association’s president to inform him the congressman would be attending in person since votes were rescheduled.
“There was very short notice last night, and we were kind of scrambling,” Johnson County Bar Association Executive Director Tracy DeMarea said.
According to DeMarea and to former association president Katie McClaflin, Davids pulled out of the event because the format changed with Yoder attending in person.
“Obviously she couldn’t prepare accordingly with only 16 hours notice that he was going to be physically present today,” McClaflin said.
In a statement to 41 Action News, a campaign spokesperson wrote:
Sharice looks forward to debating Kevin Yoder on the important issues facing Kansans, that’s why we have agreed to a televised debate hosted by the KC Star on October 29. Rep. Yoder still has not accepted this invitation and instead is playing last minute games and trying to hide behind ticketed events, closed to the majority of Kansans. After voting to raise healthcare premiums, gut protections for pre-existing conditions and raise taxes on middle class families it’s no surprise that Rep. Yoder is resorting to political ploys instead of trying to defend his dangerous record.
Campaign spokesperson Allision Teixeira Sulier
Yoder didn't hold back when asked about Davids' abrupt change of plans.
"She's a ghost of a candidate, and it's a fraud on the voters of this district," he said.
Yoder would not yet confirm participation in a planned televised debate Oct. 29 that Davids already has committed to, saying there are plenty of other opportunities to debate before then.
"We need to see what she does with these first before we talk about that," Yoder said.