Republicans keep Kansas House seat in special election

If Democrats won, it would have been a boost for the party ahead of more special elections in Montana and Georgia - as well as a recruitment tool in more competitive districts for next year's mid-term Congressional elections. The special election Tuesday between Democrat James Thompson and Estes to fill the seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo is being watched across the nation for signs of a backlash against Republicans or waning support from Trump's supporters.

Yet even before the results were in, Democrats claimed victory in defeat, noting how much Estes was underperforming typical Republicans in the district, how energized Democratic voters are, and that several upcoming special elections, not to mention the 2018 midterms, will happen on more friendly turf. Trump won the 4th District by almost 30 points. Ted Cruz. Cruz, who won the state in the 2016 Republican primaries, introduced Estes at a rally and called on district residents to turn out to vote for the Republican. The results of a recent Morning Consult survey shows Brownback as one of the least-popular governors in the country - coming in a close second to New Jersey governor Chris Christie - with just over a quarter of Kansas citizens approving of him.

Ron Estes, a Republican, Wins a Kansas Race That Unnerved the G.O.P.

Estes was first elected state treasurer in 2010.

A Democratic victory in Georgia would also notch the party one of the 24 congressional seats it needs to reclaim the House. And Democrats were hoping to serve up the first election rebuke of Trump. The pair contested for the seat vacated when former Rep. Mike Pompeo resigned from Congress to serve as Central Intelligence Agency director in the Trump administration.

Trump won 60 percent of the district's vote in November and Pompeo won re-election by 31 points. The Republican Congressional Campaign Committee dumped $130,000 into the race. Of course, it's also worth remembering that special elections do not always predict national trends. Very few voters turn out for these special contests compared to regular November elections, making it hard to read too much into the results without risking inaccurate interpretations. She said she believed his victory meant "people are holding onto the president's message".

In the run-up to election day, Republican strategists dumped on Estes campaign. "He's not just a Democratic, I think he's pretty extremely on the left, and you know, that offends a lot of our sensibilities around here, too", Covert said.

High-profile Republicans got involved in the race at the last minute, including President Trump. (Democratic nominee James Thompson regularly referred to his opponent as "Brownbacker Ron Estes.") That won't be the case in many districts the two parties fight over in 2018.

"Estes underperformed Trump's margin by 20.3 points", wrote FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver on Twitter. The 17-county congressional district includes the state's largest city of Wichita, home to Koch Industries, the company led by conservative billionaire political donors Charles and David Koch.

But in a sign of nervousness, Republicans poured money into the race late to bolster Estes.

  • Leroy Wright