A well-funded liberal women’s group has endorsed a new candidate in Kansas’ 3rd congressional district months after its former favored Democrat in the race dropped her bid in the wake of a sexual harassment controversy.
Emily's List announced Thursday that Sharice Davids, a 38-year-old Shawnee attorney and member of the Ho-Chunk nation, is its pick in the race against U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, an Overland Park Republican.
"They have a broad reach," Davids said. "And I think it says a lot for a lot of people that Emily's List came in and endorsed my campaign."
The organization originally backed Democrat Andrea Ramsey last August. But Ramsey left the race in December after the The Star asked her about accusations in a 2005 lawsuit that she sexually harassed and retaliated against a male subordinate who said he had rejected her advances.
Emily’s List said in a statement shortly after that the organization supported Ramsey’s decision to drop out of the race.
Patrick Miller, a political scientist at the University of Kansas, said the Emily's List endorsement for Davids could bring her significant resources in the short and long term.
"I think, if you're Sharice Davids, what this does is it helps boost your credibility," Miller said. "It helps you stand out more."
Davids is among a handful of Democrats trying to unseat Yoder, with no clear frontrunner yet to emerge ahead of the August primary. After dropping out, Ramsey endorsed labor attorney Brent Welder.
Yoder's campaign did not immediately comment on the endorsement Thursday morning.
In Davids' initial announcement of her campaign, she said that if elected she would be the first female Native American to serve in Congress and the first openly gay member of the Kansas delegation.
"My campaign and my candidacy are the kind of campaign that can really unite a lot of different groups of people," Davids said. "I want to try to help do that, to unite the district."
Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock praised Davids in a statement this week.
“Sharice Davids is a fighter for economic equality and opportunities for working families,” Schriock said. “Between her time as a White House Fellow and her professional background as a lawyer and entrepreneur, she has the knowledge and experience necessary to be an effective voice for Kansans in Congress.”