Politics

GOP Super PAC Knocks Kansas Democrat Paul Davis for Voting Record

Race to replace GOP Rep. Lynn Jenkins in 2nd District is a Toss-up

Kansas Democrat Paul Davis faces Republican Steve Watkins in the 2nd District. (Courtesy Paul Davis for Congress)

The super PAC tied to House Republican leadership is continuing its attacks on Democrat Paul Davis in Kansas’ 2nd District, this time knocking him for his record in the state Legislature.

The 30-second ad is part of Congressional Leadership Fund’s $3.2 million ad reservation in the district, where Davis faces Republican Steve Watkins. It will run on broadcast and cable in the Topeka and Kansas City media markets.

“Liberal Paul Davis voted 24 times for higher taxes and fees. Imagine the damage he’d do in Congress,” the narrator says. “Steve Watkins will keep our economy strong. Cut taxes. Cut job-killing regulations and cut the debt.”

Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins’ retirement opened up the district, which President Donald Trump won by 18 points in 2016. Davis’ high name recognition from his time in the state House (where he served as minority leader) and his strong fundraising have helped make the race competitive. He also carried the 2nd District during his unsuccessful run for governor in 2014.

Republicans have attempted to cast Davis as too liberal for the district, tying him to Nancy Pelosi even though he said on the day he launched his campaign that he would not support the California Democrat for party leader.  

Watkins, an Army veteran, won a crowded GOP primary in August, and has faced scrutiny over his background in recent days.

The Kansas City Star reported last week that Watkins “inflated” his role in a defense contracting company by falsely stating that he started it.

Watkins had faced criticism from his primary opponents for not spending much time in Kansas. He hasn’t lived in the Sunflower State since nearly 20 years ago when he was in high school, spending time abroad as a defense contractor after his Army service, and living in Alaska.

On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported that Watkins had applied for an “Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend” between 2002 and 2015, which the AP reported is “a payment to those who have lived in the state for a full year and say they intend to remain indefinitely.”

The AP also found that Watkins removed a quote from his website about his “heroic leadership” during an earthquake while on a 2015 expedition on Mt. Everest after the man allegedly quoted said he never made that comment, and “there was not really anything heroic to be able to do.” The AP also spoke to dogsledders who saw Watkins’ entry into the 2018 Iditarod dogsled race as campaign stunt.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race a Toss-up

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