Republicans survive election scare, win Kansas House seat

Posted April 14, 2017

In the race to fill CIA Director Mike Pompeo's former House seat in Kansas' 4th District, Republican Ron Estes underperformed Pompeo on Tuesday night, garnering 53 percent of the vote.

Republican state Treasurer Ron Estes, 60, will represent the Kansas 4th congressional district replacing Mike Pompeo, who Trump named as Central Intelligence Agency director. In November, Pompeo won reelection in the district by 32 percent, while President Donald Trump won the district by 27 percent.

The race had been closely watched nationally for signs of a backlash against Republicans or waning support from Trump voters in a reliably GOP district. Both Vice President Pence and President Trump recorded phone calls on the candidate's behalf, and Trump also put the weight of his Twitter account behind Estes.

But in a sign of nervousness, Republicans poured money into the race late to bolster Estes. Mike Pompeo (R) a year ago, and Thompson won 68 percent as many votes as the Democrat who lost to him. Republicans, seeing that, scrambled into action with an ad buy, robo-calls from the president and a last-minute rally headlined by Sen. A Democrat hasn't represented the district since Dan Glickman was ousted in the 1994 Republican wave election.

In Kansas, one factor was Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who remains unpopular because the state has faced serious budget problems since the governor and GOP lawmakers slashed personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013.

Democrats are hoping to be more successful in next week's Georgia special election and pick up the Congressional seat that was vacated in February by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price.

Lewis and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) appeared on MSNBC with Chris Hayes Wednesday night to discuss the future of the Democratic party, as well as Tuesday's surprisingly close special election in Kansas.

Libertarian candidate Gordon Bakken received just 2.8 percent of the vote in last fall's election for the 4th District seat. The race pits one young, Democratic favorite - Jon Ossoff - against a number of viable Republican candidates, one of whom has a background in the GOP establishment, and another of whom seems to have captured the support of voters more in the Trump mold.

Kansas Attorney Gen. Derek Schmidt, who spoke to a Reno County Republican Party gathering in South Hutchinson Tuesday evening, thought the high interest in the 4th District race was due to timing.

Kiowa County: Estes 421 (80 percent); Thompson 90 (17 percent); Rockhold 18 (3 percent). If Trump's approval rating stays at around 40%, Democrats will be projected to win the generic House ballot by about ten points.

"The 4th District is tough for Democrats", Loomis said.

"Republicans nationally should be very anxious", said Bob Beatty, a Washburn University political scientist. Ted Cruz who came to Wichita to campaign for Estes the day before a special election speak to the media during a news conference before. That far outpaced Thompson, who raised $292,000, mostly on small donations.

Thompson, 46, was a political newcomer backed by Our Revolution, the group that continues the work of Sen. Democrat James Thompson kisses his wife Lisa while their daughter Liberty stands to their left at the Murdock Theatre in Wichita, Kan., Tuesday, April, 11, 2017.