Kansas outcome a warning to GOP as Georgia contest nears


President Donald Trump is having an impact on voters in Kansas' special Congressional election.

Campaign manager Colin Curtis said at the time that state Democrats had the opportunity to win the district for the first time in 23 years but that it felt like a lot of the current establishment of the party was "sitting on the sidelines".

And yet, it's Democrats who appear to be smiling.

Republican Ron Estes will be the next Congressman from Kansas following his victory Tuesday in a special election for the fourth district.

Republicans survived an election scare on Tuesday and won a Kansas House seat in the first congressional election since President Donald Trump's victory, but the margin was much closer than expected in a district that had voted overwhelmingly for Trump in November. Thompson portrayed Estes, the state's treasurer, as a close Brownback ally even though the governor never publicly endorsed Estes. Unofficial returns in Sedgwick County had Thompson with 37,472 votes, for 49 percent.

By every possible metric, the GOP candidate should've won this race easily, without breaking a sweat.

"Republican Ron Estes needs your vote and needs it badly", Trump said in his minute-long call. Pompeo won re-election in November by 31 points. This reliably Republican district anchored by Wichita has an April 11 special election to pick a successor to Mike Pompeo, now Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director.

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. Whether in the manufacturing industry or in public office, Ron has always worked to improve efficiency and find savings.

McClatchy had a good report yesterday on the direction of the prevailing political winds.

People in Kansas and elsewhere saw the election as a referendum on the Trump administration: a victory for Estes meant that people in Kansas and other parts of the Midwest still supported the president.

In the last three congressional elections, Democratic challengers attracted only about 30 percent of the vote against Mike Pompeo. Trump barely edged out Democrat Hillary Clinton in the district past year. For some Republicans, it all leads to a simple conclusion: The party should start worrying about the 2018 elections.

Loomis said Republicans "panicked" as the election neared. As a result, they're energized - they will crawl over broken glass.

Key dynamics in the race are certainly different: While national GOP groups rushed in to the state over the last week to play defense, they have been pouring millions into attack ads against Ossoff for months.

We need to keep paying attention to special elections across the country, and progressives should not dismiss races that are in traditionally Republican areas.

All of this comes with an important caveat: it's only April 2017.

There are a few reasons that could explain why special election candidates have generally not performed as well as their party did in preceding general elections.



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