GOP Retains Kansas Congressional Seat After Last-Minute Anti-Choice Attack Ads

Ron Estes, who eked out a victory in a surprisingly close special election in Kansas's 4th District Tuesday, is a stalwart but unflashy conservative with a background in engineering and state finance.

Estes received 53 percent of the vote in Kansas's 4th Congressional District, compared to Thompson's 46 percent.

With Estes' victory, Republicans are now defending three GOP-leaning seats in upcoming special elections in Georgia, Montana and SC. Of those initial targets, Democratic leaders have homed in on about 35 or so House seats in largely suburban areas they believe are home to the party's future: elite professionals who were turned off by Trump's behavior during the 2016 campaign and can be permanently forged into a new and winning Democratic coalition.

Thompson's success is remarkable, considering he has had very little support from the state or national Democratic party.

Trump won 60 percent of votes in November's election in the 17-county district in south-central Kansas that includes the state's largest city of Wichita.

In a speech to supporters in Wichita, Thompson vowed that he would run for the seat again in 2018 and argued that the result was evidence that no Republican district is safe. Democratic Army veteran and civil rights lawyer James Thompson squared off against Republican state Treasurer Ron Estes.

Granted, the political landscape will look much different in 2018 than it did this week, when the campaign schedule was compressed into just a few weeks and preliminary estimates put voter turnout at just 27 percent.

Other nationally known Republicans pitched in over the final days of the race. Sen.

Trump's low approval ratings, as well as the sky-high unpopularity of Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, appear to have had an impact on voters' enthusiasm for Estes in this traditionally Republican state. Kansas 4th District congressional Democratic candidate James Thompson, right, does some last-minute campaigning at The Anchor, a popular downtown restaurant, in downtown Wichita, Kan., over lunchtime Monday, .

Next up is the April 18 jungle primary in Georgia's 6 Congressional District to fill the seat once occupied by Republican Tom Price, who is now Secretary of Health of Human Services.

Pompeo won reelection in November by 31 points.

The GOP push included intervention from Donald Trump and Mike Pence, both of whom recorded robo-calls for local voters; in-person campaigning from Ted Cruz; a fundraising push from Paul Ryan; and 11th-hour investments from the National Republican Congressional Committee. Located in the middle of the country, they often act as a signpost, revealing how people in the U.S. feel about politics and where the country is headed. 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. Democrats still haven't won an election there since the early 1980s. In addition, though, at least two other congressional districts in Kansas are now seen as potentially in play.

Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, who leads the House Republicans' campaign arm, said Ossoff's best chance of claiming the seat is to win outright next week, "and he knows that".

Thompson, Estes and Libertarian Chris Rockhold are running to replace the former congressman, CIA Director Mike Pompeo. In the 2012 presidential race, Romney won their districts by the same big margin, 55 percent to 43 percent.

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