Democrat Andrea Ramsey dropped out of the race to take on Kansas GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder, after sexual harassment allegations surfaced against her — and, she claimed, national Democrats abandoned her campaign.
Ramsey announced she was pulling out of the race Friday, in a lengthy statement denying that she engaged in any harassment or retaliation against a former colleague. The Kansas City Star first reported Ramsey's decision, which came after the outlet approached her about a 2005 lawsuit involving a male subordinate.
The case stems from Ramsey’s time as vice president of human resources at the company LabOne, according to the Kansas City Star. She allegedly made sexual advances towards a subordinate and retaliated against him when he rebuffed them.
The man was eventually fired. He sued the company and included the accusations against Ramsey in the case, which was eventually dismissed. Ramsey was not party to the lawsuit, so she was not involved in resolving the case.
“Had the false allegations been brought against me directly, I would have fought to exonerate my name and my reputation,” Ramsey said. “I would have sued the disgruntled, vindictive employee for defamation.”
Ramsey, an attorney, said she was being denied due process to combat the allegations, and that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had said it would not support her campaign.
“The DCCC, as gatekeeper of endorsements and campaign funding has made its choice, once again putting its thumb on the scales by not allowing the democratic primary process to proceed,” Ramsey said.
The DCCC had not taken sides in the primary, nor was Ramsey added to its “Red to Blue” program for promising challengers.
“Members and candidates must all be held to the highest standard. If anyone is guilty of sexual harassment or sexual assault, that person should not hold public office,” DCCC spokeswoman Meredith Kelly said in a statement.
Yoder’s seat is a top target for Democrats in 2018, since Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won it by 1 point in 2016, according to Daily Kos Elections. The 3rd District, which includes Kansas City and the surrounding suburbs, was listed on the DCCC's initial target list for 2018.
Five other Democrats in addition to Ramsey were running in the Democratic primary to take on Yoder.
Ramsey had so far raised the most money of all of the Demcoratic challengers, raking in more than $443,000. The next closest challenger in fundraising, teacher Tom Niermann, raised more than $182,000. Ramsey was also endorsed by E.M.I.L.Y's list, which backs pro-abortion rights female candidates.
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Lean Republican.