Pompeo's House seat remains in Republican hands

Republicans held on to a U.S. congressional seat yesterday, although by a smaller margin than expected, in their first electoral test since Donald Trump won the presidency. After private polling showed Estes ahead by only a slim margin for such a reliably Republican district, the NRCC launched a late TV ad bashing Thompson and backing Estes, followed by a flurry of big-name rescue efforts: House Speaker Paul Ryan sent out a fundraising pitch for Estes, Sen. Trump tapped the onetime House Budget chairman for Health and Human Services secretary after he won re-election with 62 percent of the vote. And Jon Ossoff, the leading Democrat in the 18-candidate race, has attracted far more fundraising dollars and national attention than the little-known challenger to Estes in Kansas. The Republicans at present dominate the House with 237-193 majority.

"That does not escape the attention of voters", said Ian Russell, who served as the DCCC's political director a year ago.

The special election Tuesday between Democrat James Thompson and Republican Ron Estes to fill the seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo is being watched across the nation for signs of a backlash against Republicans.

Trump on Wednesday submitted a Tweet celebrating Estes' victory. But it's the best evidence we've got that right now, voters in traditionally Republican districts aren't thrilled with Trump.

Gallup said the drop in support could be due to "failure by party leaders to fulfill campaign pledges on major pieces of legislation such as tax reform and healthcare".

In the end, it was not to be; once election day voting from Sedgwick started coming in with less overwhelming Democratic margins, and rural counties began reporting their usual massive GOP percentages, Thompson faded.

That said, the results in Kansas serve as a reminder to the political world that, as things stand, the GOP is facing serious headwinds - and they have no idea how to improve their standing.

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Thompson spokesman Chris Pumpelly said Estes' victory required recorded calls from Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and other help from Republicans nationally.

Included among them was Belle Plaine homemaker Charlene Health, 52, who cast her vote for Estes.

Allen said Thompson's strong showing could help recruit Democratic candidates in future races. "I finally did. I realized this was important". Next week's special election could swing the conservative district to Democrats for the first time in decades. The district has been hurt by the downturn in the agricultural economy and the loss of hundreds of well-paying, blue-collar jobs in aircraft manufacturing plants. The 4th District, as has so often been the case, is again in the hands of a Republican. Ted Cruz, in the flesh, at a rally for Mr. Estes.

Thompson, who is pro-choice, won his party's nomination in February after pushback from voters over the possibility of the party selecting an anti-choice Democrat as its nominee.

Trump tapped Pompeo to head the Central Intelligence Agency, and Ron Estes will now take his seat representing Kansas' 4th District, which has been in Republican hands since 1994.

"Energy amongst Democrats is off the charts, which the DCCC recognized and acted on earlier than any previous cycle", said Meredith Kelly, DCCC spokeswoman. While Thompson may not have had the financial resources of his Republican opponent Estes, the resounding opposition to Trump carried him within single digits of winning this race. GOP congressional candidate in the 4th district Ron Estes votes at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Tuesday, April 11, 2017, in Wichita, Kan.


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