Democratic congressional nominee Sharice Davids might just make history come November. On August 7th, Davids won a tough six-way primary race to become the Democratic nominee for Kansas’s third congressional district. In November’s general election, she’ll face off with Rep. Kevin Yoder, the incumbent Republican who is running for his fifth term in office.
If Davids wins there, she’ll be the first openly LGBTQ person to represent Kansas at the state or federal level. Vox reports that she might also make history as one of two Native American women elected to Congress this year, alongside Democratic candidate Deb Haaland of New Mexico, who is expected to win her own congressional race in November.
Davids, a former Mixed Martial Arts fighter and White House fellow during Barack Obama’s presidency, is a first-time candidate for Congress. Her closest competitors in the Democratic primary were progressive candidate Brent Welder, a lawyer who was endorsed by Bernie Sanders and progressive rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and “relative moderate” Tom Niermann, a history teacher backed by local elected officials. Davids won 37% of the vote, edging out Welder (who received 34%) by 2,088 votes.
Davids, who was raised by a single mom and worked her way up from community college to Cornell Law School, won endorsements from Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America, Victory Fund, and EMILY’s List during her campaign.
According to the Kansas City Star, Davids supports Medicaid expansion, tax cuts for the middle class rather than “the Trump tax cuts that she sees as a giveaway to the wealthy,” immigration reform, and protections for DACA recipients and Dreamers. She has also called for treating gun violence as a public health crisis. These positions, and her status as a self-made woman, clearly appealed to the voters of the third district. According to Vox, the third district includes “more educated, suburban parts of Kansas” that lean more liberal than the rural, conservative western parts of the state.
The Democratic nominee has been vocally enthusiastic about being part of the changing tide in American politics. This year has seen women and other members of underrepresented communities come out in historic numbers to run for office. In an interview with HelloGiggles for our She’s Running series profiling young, progressive women candidates, Davids said,
We’re so excited (but totally not surprised) to see powerful women all over the country continue to crush it in the lead-up to the midterm elections.