House race in heavily GOP Kansas surprisingly competitive

Still, Thompson is far too liberal to win in a place like the 4th Congressional District in a normal year.

Though the number of candidates in the Georgia race makes it hard to compare margins with Price's win last fall, Ossoff's proximity to the 50 percent marker shows how much Democrats have improved their position in that district since last year's election. Until it finally spent some money on get-out-the-vote calls, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee stayed away for fear that it would nationalize the race.

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.

Democratic hopes rest with Jon Ossoff, 30, a former congressional staffer turned investigative filmmaker who has raised more than $8 million, an extraordinary amount for a special election.

The special election was called because Trump had asked the district's previous representative, Mike Pompeo, a Republican, to become 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.

He said the results show Democrats that, "You fight". However, others pointed to unpopular Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback as the real drag on Estes' performance.

Estes is the state treasurer.

James Thompson, the Democratic candidate, said, "Mr. Estes did not beat us".

"Ron has been deeply involved in his community for years and I'm confident he will be a strong voice for Kansas' 4th Congressional District in Washington, D.C.", House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement congratulating the GOP candidate.

This latest poll is "based on telephone interviews conducted April 5-9, 2017, with a random sample of 1,019 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia". If the 25-point swing in Kansas was repeated nationwide in 2018, Democrats could win back the House in a landslide - and possibly even have a chance at the Senate. 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. If Ossoff can clinch 50 percent of the vote against a crowded field of Republican contenders, he will avoid a runoff election. Programs like this have seen huge interest following Trump's election, as Democrats seek to take advantage of national anger and thousands of new progressives volunteer to run for office. But he also said he didn't vote for Trump in the presidential election because he doesn't "believe in the party line".

All those GOP calls prompted Charlene Health, a 52-year-old homemaker and Republican in Belle Plaine, to cast a ballot for Estes.

Trump tweeted about the race Tuesday morning, urging voters to get out and support Estes over his Democratic challenger.

"Today the eyes of the whole country are upon Kansas", Cruz said at the campaign rally. "I need his help on Healthcare & Tax Cuts (Reform)". Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence recorded robocalls for him, and Texas Sen. Estes performed 20 points worse than Trump did in this district just five months ago.

In the final days of the special election campaign, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) funneled $92,000 into the race on behalf of Estes-$67,000 went to TV advertising in the Wichita market, the largest city in the state and home of GOP mega-donors Charles and David Koch.

Estes took all but one county (Sedgwick, whose county seat is Wichita, which Thompson took by fewer than 1,900 votes), and won by 6.8 percent of the vote. "Ossoff wins and suddenly every Republican in a swing district is going to be nervous and they will demonstrate their independence".

  • Audrey Hill