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The news that the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) has canceled more than $1 million in planned ads on behalf of Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) in the Kansas 3rd congressional district race is the latest indication that the Republicans’ “divide and distract” midterm strategy may not work and, in some closely-watched contests this cycle, may actually backfire.
In recent weeks, Rep. Yoder’s campaign and Republican and conservative outside groups have blanketed the airwaves in a sustained attempt to paint Democratic candidate Sharice Davids as a dangerous radical on immigration and crime.
Yet recent polling, conducted after the attempted “othering” of Davids, as well as the new NRCC ad buy cancelation, shows that Davids is beginning to pull away from Yoder. As The Hill newspaper characterized of the NRCC news, “The decision to cut advertising, described to The Hill by a source familiar with the NRCC’s strategic thinking, is a hint that Republicans are pessimistic about Yoder’s chances of holding his Kansas City-area district.”
According to Zachary Mueller, Kansas City-based Digital Communications Specialist at America’s Voice:
Kevin Yoder’s Republican allies made an early bet on the ‘divide and distract’ strategy. Evidently, they believed that racialized anti-immigrant attack ads would polarize the electorate, mobilize Yoder supporters and peel off centrist voters — anything to distract from his support for an unpopular President and tax cuts for the rich. But now they seem to realize this strategy is a bad bet. There is still a month until the elections and a lot could change; but if Yoder is going to close the gap in the polls he will have to do it without backing from the NRCC.