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Kansas Democrat drops out of 2nd district congressional race against Steve Watkins 

Democrat Abbie Hodgson ended her candidacy Tuesday for Kansas’ 2nd congressional district, citing fundraising difficulties.
Democrat Abbie Hodgson ended her candidacy Tuesday for Kansas’ 2nd congressional district, citing fundraising difficulties.

Kansas Democrat Abbie Hodgson has ended her campaign for the U.S. House after only three months, saying in an email to supporters that she did not see a viable path forward for her candidacy.

Hodgson, who worked as a speechwriter for former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, launched a campaign for Kansas’ 2nd congressional district in July after stepping down from her job at Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington.

On Tuesday, she announced her withdrawal from the race. Hodgson’s exit currently leaves Democrats without a contender for the district, which includes Lawrence, Topeka and Leavenworth.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Watkins still faces a primary challenge from Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner.

Watkins, a freshman Republican, narrowly won the seat last year against a better-funded Democrat.

Hodgson’s withdrawal came the same day federal candidates were required to file fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission.

“There is simply too much at stake in this election, so I will be withdrawing to make room for a candidate who can raise the money necessary to flip the seat in 2020,” she said.

As of 1 p.m., Hodgson’s filing had yet to appear on the FEC website, but she told The Star in a follow-up email that she would report nearly $69,000 in fundraising for the quarter.

“Overall, a competitive candidate in this district will need to raise at least $4 million, and that doesn’t account for outside spending,” she said.

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Bryan Lowry covers Kansas and Missouri politics as Washington correspondent for The Kansas City Star. He previously served as Kansas statehouse correspondent for The Wichita Eagle and as The Star’s lead political reporter. Lowry contributed to The Star’s investigation into government secrecy that was a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize.
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