2nd Dist. House race takes uglier turn with new ads, debate showdown

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The fight for the outgoing Rep. Lynn Jenkins' 2nd Congressional District seat is heating up.

Political groups backing Democratic candidate Paul Davis and his Republican opponent Steve Watkins each launched new attack ads - and as many have seen, those ads go negative.

"It's politics," University of Kansas Political Science professor Patrick Miller, explaining this is just how elections work. He says Political Action Committee ads are and will get personal.

"All of these candidates have at least one moment that they have called the other candidates names," Miller explained.

Congressional Leadership Fund, a SuperPAC committed to electing Republicans to the U.S. House, launched a new ad attacking Davis for an incident nearly 20 years ago at a strip club. Davis says he doesn't think it will hurt his campaign, but says it's why he wants reform when it comes to PAC money.

"There's lots of things we can do to get rid of the dark money that is just polluting our political process,” Davis said.

On the other side, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ad says other Republicans call Steve Watkins a fraud.

"Such a critical election cycle, the Speaker of the House and the control of the House of Representatives could very well come down to the Kansas 2nd, and so that's why you're seeing outside interests," Watkins said.

The debate over debates

Davis and Watkins both sent out news releases Thursday claiming the other has not agreed to days and times for most debates. One on both their lists: WIBW-TV on October 18th.

"Paul evaded these forums and flip-flopped on his record, and the debates will be a great chance to expose him as a failed career politician,” Watkins said.

Davis said he believes his camp "forced (Watkins') hand" by holding a news conference Thursday. He added that he believes debates are a good thing for the 2nd District.

"I hope people will tune in and watch that debate with a great deal of interest," Davis said.

Miller hopes the candidates stick to policy in the debates.

"If we want people to be more informed voters, they have to care about those specifics and the press has to press on that," Miller said.

The debate between Watkins and Davis will be on October 18th at 6:15pm. We will televise it live.