History! Sharice Davids wins Kansas primary; faces Yoder in November

Watch party for Sharice Davids turned into a sleep over as Johnson County numbers were slow to report. Early this morning Davids took the lead. (Photo by Rhonda LeValdo)

Mark Trahant

Native candidates on the ballot in Kansas, Washington

Updated at 9 am Eastern

Sharice Davids trailed most of Tuesday night. Then returns started coming in from the largest county in the Kansas third congressional district, Johnson County. And that changed the tally.

Wednesday morning Davids has a three point lead with all of the precinct votes counted.

The unofficial results show Davids with 22,891 votes to Brent Welder's second place at 20,803 votes.

Early Tuesday there were signs that the night would be long. People were still in line an hour after the polls closed at 7 pm Central. The county said it would not begin counting until after everyone voted. But hours later, as other counties turned in their final election numbers, Johnson County was silent. Computer problems. Big ones.

Davids tweeted early this morning: "Still awake, ~~#~~KS03?! We’re at the ~~#~~JoCo Elections Office monitoring the ~~#~~vote count as it happens. Stay tuned... "

And so we shall.

There has never been a Native American woman elected to Congress. But in June Debra Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, won the nomination for a seat representing Albuquerque and Davids would be the second to do so. Davids is Ho Chunk. Later this month Amanda Douglas, running in Oklahoma, could be the third.

This race took on an added dimension when Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaigned for Brent Welder in the district. On Twitter Tuesday night Sanders supporters carried on the fight, dismissing Davids as a centrist and saying EMILY's list bought and paid for her. EMILY's list invested $400,000 in the race. Sanders called that corporate money. . “We don’t want to be supportive of candidates who simply raise money from the wealthy and then put 30-second ads on TV,” he said.

Tuesday night Sanders supporters were still litigating the campaign, explaining why Davids did not measure up to their ideal. Then as the lead shifted early Wednesday morning, some Sanders supporters were seeing a conspiracy by mainstream Democrats. The "problems" at Johnson County was proof ... or so they tweeted.

For her part Davids avoided the Sanders-Ocasio-Cortez issue altogether and focused on Kansas issues. And she did get strong support because of EMILY's list, and suburban women (that would be the Johnson County numbers).

Davids tweeted Monday: “I’m definitely not going to apologize for taking ~~@~~emilyslist support, b/c they play a role in helping pro-choice women candidates get elected.” -Sharice in this ~~@~~thinkprogress article

Davids was also endorsed the Kansas City Star. In addition to making history for Indian Country, if results hold, she will be the first openly gay person to represent Kansas in Congress.

Johnson County now says it expects "final" results around 8 am Central.