“As a top longtime adviser to former Gov. Sam Brownback, Amanda Adkins helped engineer Kansas’ disastrous tax experiment, which hardworking Kansan families are still paying for to this day. Meanwhile, Rep. Sharice Davids has been a strong, independent leader in Congress. Whether she’s introducing legislation to tackle surprise medical billing, advocating for more transparency in prescription drug pricing, or securing more PPE and testing for her community, Kansans can always count on Sharice to show up for them and get the job done.” – DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos
To: Interested Parties
From: Brooke Goren, DCCC Regional Press Secretary
Date: August 4, 2020
Subject: The Case Against Amanda Adkins
After spending a nasty primary being attacked by fellow Republicans as “a corporate lobbyist” trying to buy the election, longtime Sam Brownback adviser Amanda Adkins has a steep climb to viability in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District.
As the former campaign manager for Sam Brownback and head of the Kansas Republican Party during his administration, Adkins is a longtime party insider with deep ties to the establishment. When Adkins teased her candidacy last July, the Kansas City Star reported that “Adkins could also feel the drag from her connections to Brownback, who left office with a low approval rating” – and they were right. Adkins’ strong connection to Brownback and his failed agenda will be a major liability with general election voters who are still reeling from the effects of a tax experiment that gutted funding for the state’s public education and infrastructure systems.
While Adkins spent years enabling Brownback’s disastrous agenda, Rep. Sharice Davids has built a strong brand as a tireless advocate for working Kansans. In Congress, Davids has made health care a top priority, introducing legislation that would end surprise medical billing practices and advocating for greater transparency around the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs like insulin. In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, she has been out front in fighting to get her district the testing and personal protective equipment it needs. And as businesses struggle to deal with the economic fallout from the virus, Rep. Davids has been leading the charge to cut through partisan gridlock and provide more accountability for how relief loans are distributed.
With a proven record and the resources to communicate it, Rep. Davids is in an excellent position for re-election in this heavily suburban district.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
HEADLINE: Emails suggest Kansas GOP candidate skirted campaign finance rules, watchdogs say [Kansas City Star, 9/12/19]
HEADLINE: Candidate’s father steers six figures into PAC attacking rival in Kansas GOP primary [Kansas City Star, 7/07/20]
HEADLINE: Executive with Brownback ties to run for Congress in Kansas [Associated Press, 9/03/19]
HEADLINE: Kansas Dem Sharice Davids introduces bill to tackle surprise medical billing [Kansas City Star, 11/18/19]
HEADLINE: Kansas Rep. Sharice Davids calling for more transparency with rising price of insulin [KMBC News, 8/20/19]
HEADLINE: Fresh off self-quarantine, Rep. Davids returns to D.C. to vote yes for relief package [Shawnee Mission Post, 3/27/20]
Amanda Adkins: Working to Bring Brownback-Style Politics Back to Kansas
ADKINS QUARTERBACKED THE BROWNBACK AGENDA IN KANSAS
As a longtime advisor to former Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Amanda Adkins has spent her career deeply involved in cultivating his vision, including disastrous tax cuts that gutted funding for Kansas’ education system.
Adkins’ relationship with Brownback stretches back decades to 1998, when she worked on his first Senate campaign. She managed his second in 2004. When Adkins ran for Kansas Republican Party Chair in 2009, Brownback endorsed her run and they then worked closely to draft the party’s new strategy to expand GOP control in the state. Once Adkins left her role as Kansas Republican Party Chair, she maintained a close working relationship with Brownback when he appointed her as chair of the Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund.
As Brownback’s Children’s Cabinet chair, Adkins worked with the Governor to cover his attempts at slashing the budget for early childhood programs and even went as far as excluding the rest of the agency’s board in budget discussions with the Governor. In this role, she praised Brownback’s economic roadmap as one that promoted “high quality early learning experiences.” Under Adkins’ leadership, the Cabinet suffered millions of dollars in funding cuts to critical early childhood programs.
Throughout Brownback’s governorship, Adkins praised his tax agenda – which resulted in the historic cuts to education that are still impacting Kansas families.
In addition to cutting millions of dollars from public education, the tax policy Adkins supported “tanked” the state’s economy and led to the state’s credit rating being “downgraded because of its budget problems.” In 2017, Vox reported that “Job creation and economic growth [in Kansas] is far below the national average. The state is facing a budget shortfall of about $889 million in the next two years.”
In fact, the tax cuts were so unpopular that in 2017 the Republican-dominated legislature overrode the governor’s veto and rolled back the tax cuts.
Despite his disastrous record, Adkins called Brownback an “incredible governor” and personally contributed over $2,500 to the governor’s re-election campaign.
ADKINS WOULD BE A DISASTER FOR KANSANS’ HEALTH CARE
Amanda Adkins’ reckless health care positions may have played well in a crowded Republican primary, but the general election is a different story.
Just like the Washington establishment backing her campaign, Adkins has advocated for doing away with the entire Affordable Care Act. If Adkins gets her way, 62,000 Kansans would be kicked off their health care amid a global pandemic, and popular provisions like protections for people with pre-existing conditions and allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance plan would disappear. Adkins’ plan would end protections for over 330,000 people in KS-03 with pre-existing conditions, leave millions of Americans without access to critical services, and raise prescription drug costs.
While Kansans overwhelmingly believe that Medicaid should be expanded to cover more low-income adults, Amanda Adkins opposes doing so.
In contrast, Rep. Sharice Davids has made improving our health care system a major focus in Congress. Rep. Davids has been a champion for Medicaid expansion, introducing legislation that would incentivize states like Kansas to do so. She has voted to protect people with pre-existing conditions, allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, and worked to end practices that leave families with surprise medical bills.
WILLING TO BREAK ANY RULE TO GET ELECTED
Amanda Adkins’ candidacy opened with headlines about improper campaign behavior, and it’s been more of the same ever since. Adkins came under fire for breaking federal election regulations and conducting campaign activities months before officially filing her candidacy. According to the Kansas City Star, Adkins “skirted federal election law by representing herself as a candidate before filing the appropriate paperwork.”
Drawing unflattering comparisons to Congressman Steve Watkins’ 2018 campaign, Adkins’ father funneled more than a hundred thousand dollars into a Super PAC that aired months-worth of attack ads against her Republican opponent in a desperate attempt to the Republican nomination.
Adkins’ campaign tactics were so appalling that even Republicans in the state called them “vile,” with one high-profile couple withdrawing their support for Adkins following attacks she and her family launched against a primary challenger.
PATH TO VICTORY
Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District represents the kind of suburban communities that have swung heavily towards Democrats under President Donald Trump. After voting for McCain and Romney, voters here shifted to Clinton in 2016 and elected Representative Sharice Davids by a historic 10-point margin in 2018.
The daughter of a single mother and Army Veteran who made history as one of the first Native American women ever elected to Congress, Rep. Davids has built a strong brand of delivering for Kansans. In her first term, Davids has focused on lowering health care and prescription drug costs and advocated for transparency and fiscal responsibility while working tirelessly to help Kansans impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Newly-crowned GOP nominee Amanda Adkins’ decades in Kansas’ Republican establishment combined with her shady campaign tactics will be a serious drag on her candidacy at a time when the GOP brand is more toxic than ever. The direction of Kansas and the country under leaders like Sam Brownback and Republicans in control of Washington have alienated independents and even moderate Republicans in this well-educated, affluent district, and Kansans have no interest in returning to GOP leadership.
The contrast couldn’t be clearer: Davids has made good on her promise to be a voice for the people of Kansas, focused on lowering the cost of healthcare and increasing wages and opportunity, while Amanda Adkins has spent her career enabling Sam Brownback and his disastrous tax experiment that is still hurting Kansas families today.