OVERLAND PARK. Kan. -- It was billed as the first time Republican Kevin Yoder and Democrat Sharice Davids, the congressional candidates in the key Kansas 3rd District, would be on the same stage.
In the end, the Johnson County Bar Association audience was left with only one candidate.
Davids’ no show at the Johnson County Bar Association Forum left many wondering if she and Yoder will ever appear together, side by side.
It's one of the most important congressional races in the country -- the fight for the 3rd District of Kansas. It's a key seat in a district that Hillary Clinton won by one point, and the eyes of the nation are watching.
Voters have a lot of questions for both Yoder and opponent Davids and still have not seen them together to answer the tough questions.
Yoder, who was originally not going to be able to attend, taped a 5-minute piece to run at the forum, but a last-minute vote delay in Washington allowed him to participate.
"Now we are able to be here in person. We are able to attend the event, and she has withdrawn,” Yoder said. “And we think it is a disservice to the voters. It is disrespectful to the voters, doesn’t allow them to make an informed choice. That is because she thinks she has the race in the bag. She doesn’t have to debate. When she found out I was coming, she withdrew."
Davids’ campaign issued the following statement:
“Sharice looks forward to debating Kevin Yoder on the important issues facing Kansans, that’s why we have agreed to a televised debate hosted by the KC Star on October 29. Rep. Yoder still has not accepted this invitation and instead is playing last minute games and trying to hide behind ticketed events, closed to the majority of Kansans."
At this point, that debate is not going to happen. FOX4 has partnered up with The Kansas City Star to host a 3rd District Congressional Debate on Oct. 29. Neither candidate has committed to the joint debate.
"At this point, voters are the folks who are losing out here because these two candidates have not agreed to be in a room together," said Colleen McCain Nelson, Kansas City Star vice president and editorial page editor. “I understand that they are both making decisions, doing what is most advantageous for them and so there is some strategic thinking on both of their parts. But at the end of the day voters need to be able to see them and to see them side by side and hear them answer tough questions, which is what we were hoping to accomplish with a Star, FOX4 debate.”
For the record, FOX4 and The Kansas City Star again extend an invitation to both Yoder and Davids to participate in a live debate with joint moderating.