If you’re a Republican candidate sharing a ballot with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, there is truly no escaping the top of your ticket.
That’s what Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) learned earlier this month, when he was pressed on his presidential vote by a Cub Scout less than a week after a recording emerged capturing Trump discussing kissing and grabbing women without their consent.
“I’m going to be supporting the Republican nominee, no matter what crazy things he says,” Yoder said, according to cellphone video taken at an Oct. 11 appearance in Lenexa, Kan.
Yoder, seeking a fourth term, is locked is a surprisingly tight battle in a suburban Kansas City district where polls released by both parties have shown Trump trailing Hillary Clinton. His opponent, financial consultant Jay Sidie, has sought to link Yoder not only to Trump but also to unpopular Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.
The cellphone video shows Yoder fielding questions from Cub Scouts, who are ages 7 to 10, on the life of a congressman, his travel destinations and his stance on pizza. And then a scout with a more pointed question gets the mic.
“Who are you voting for president?” he asks.
Yoder jokes about being put on the spot as the crowd chuckles: “A-ha! Which parent put him up to that? Is there a hot mic in here? Well, I’m a Republican, so I’m going to be supporting the Republican nominee, no matter what crazy things he says.”
Yoder campaign spokesman C.J. Grover said the remark was intended to be lighthearted.
“Anyone who knows Kevin knows that he utilizes his quick wit to connect with voters,” he said. “All this video shows is Kevin continues to be out in the community taking all questions from anyone who wants to ask them, whereas his opponent has been hiding in his basement hoping his financial backers in D.C. can steal him a victory.”
The candidates and allied groups are set to spend a combined $1.8 million on TV ads in the final two weeks of the campaign, according to independent ad trackers. While Sidie has attacked Yoder for his ties to Brownback and Trump, Yoder has sought to cast doubt on Sidie’s business record and this week aired an ad featuring an endorsement from Kansas City Royals legend George Brett.
Bruce Rist, the Cubmaster of Pack 3087, said an email that the scouts were thankful to have Yoder on hand.
“We loved having him and the knowledge and experience he brought to our scouts,” Rist said. “Nobody in the room thought anything of this, and in fact, appreciated how he handled the question. This was a civics lesson, not a political event.”
Updated 8:05 p.m. with Rist’s statement