A moderate Republican state senator has sided against U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder in the congressman’s 2018 re-election bid.
Sen. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills, is endorsing Democrat Tom Niermann in his effort to challenge Yoder, an Overland Park Republican, in the general election.
Niermann, a longtime teacher who lives in Johnson County, is among six major Democratic candidates in the Aug. 7 primary who hope to run against Yoder.
In a phone interview, Bollier said she voted for Dennis Moore, the Democrat who held the congressional seat before Yoder, “for many years.”
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It’s not about party, she said, it’s about the state and the country.
“We need someone electable who will represent the district and actually talk to the people in the district,” Bollier said. “I think Tom would be a great uniter of different ideas.”
Bollier is a vocal moderate in the Kansas Senate who made expanding Medicaid a key part of her first two years in the chamber.
Before being elected to the Senate, Bollier served in the House.
“Kevin (Yoder)’s a good man, but he has not, in my opinion, represented our district,” Bollier said. “And I am frustrated as a citizen of not being able to have a public town hall meeting where my congressman was present.”
An official with Yoder’s campaign did not immediately comment Wednesday morning.
Niermann is one of a host of candidates looking to challenge Yoder in the suburban Kansas City district, which HIllary Clinton won when she ran for president in 2016. Yoder beat his Democratic challenger by roughly 11 points.
Other Democrats in the race include Sharice Davids, Mike McCamon, Jay Sidie, Brent Welder and Sylvia Williams. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and newly minted progressive Democratic sensation Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are set to campaign for Welder on Friday in Kansas City, Kan.