Overland Park Republican Considers Challenging Rep. Davids

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Republican chairman of a Kansas House committee that will redraw the state's congressional districts is considering a run against Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids in a Kansas City-area district.

State Rep. Chris Croft, of Overland Park, met last month with National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Tom Emmer to discuss his potential entry into the race in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District, which includes Wyandotte, Johnson and part of Miami counties, The Kansas City Star reported.

Croft said he was strongly considering the race against Davids, who is the state's lone Democrat in Congress. She is seeking a second term in a race that is expected to draw a lot of attention as Democrats try to protect their narrow majority in the House.

Amanda Atkins, a former Kansas Republican chairwoman who lost to Davids last year, has said she plans to run again.

The GOP-led Legislature is set to redraw the state’s congressional map this year, and Republican leaders have made it clear they want to oust Davids by redrawing the boundaries of her district to make it more Republican-friendly.

Croft said it will be up to Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman, an Olathe Republican, to determine if he could remain chairman of the Kansas House Redistricting Committee while also running for Congress.

Croft should resign from the committee even if he is only thinking of running against Davids because it would be an “insurmountable” conflict of interest, said Molly Mitchell, spokeswoman for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which oversees the Democratic party's redistricting strategy.

Croft said he believes he could handle the redistricting process fairly even if he is a candidate. He noted that every member of the Kansas Legislature will be voting on state legislative maps for their own districts.