Republicans' narrow win for Kansas seat emboldens Democrats

Voters on Tuesday picked state Treasurer Ron Estes to fill the vacancy created when Trump chose former U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo as Central Intelligence Agency director. On Monday, Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of SC, who shouted "You Lie!" at President Barack Obama during a 2009 health care speech, heard chants of the same phrase at a town hall from constituents angry about health care and his voting record on violence against women.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Monday made calls to 25,000 households in the district, and while the state party initially rejected the Thompson campaign's request of $20,000 for a mailer, they relented and gave $3,000.

The importance of the election was demonstrated by the national GOP figures who campaigned for Estes. The Democratic candidate, James Thompson, was a political novice who couldn't attract big-dollar donations from Democrats around the nation.

Trump's picks for top jobs in his administration and a California Democratic appointment have created five openings in the U.S. House, where Republicans have a 237-193 edge. Libertarian Chris Rockhold was also on the ballot and drew less than 2 percent of the vote. And in a district where there are typically twice as many registered Republicans as Democrats, early vote was 44.5% Democratic and 43.5% Republican. Though the district has not elected a Democrat in almost 40 years, outside contributions and an anti-Trump message have helped give the 30-year-old Ossoff a shot to win April 18.

Steve Weems, a 69-year-old retired accountant from Wichita, doesn't want to see a change in the Republican majority in the House and cast his vote for Estes.

Kansas 4th District congressional candidate Ron Estes, right, and Sen. It's a ruby-red district - Donald Trump won here by 27 points - in a ruby-red state.

Estes said in his victory speech Tuesday night that his campaign showed political pundits and national media that they were wrong in suggesting he could lose the race. Ted Cruz came to campaign for Mr. Estes.

On Tuesday people in Kansas' fourth congressional district, an area that includes the city of Wichita, voted in a special election for a new congressman. That precipitated a flood of national GOP campaign activity to save the seat.

"I'm ready to support him", former Georgia state senator Dan Moody, one of the Republicans running for the 6th district seat, said of Trump in an interview with Reuters.

Trump says "Ron Estes is running TODAY for Congress in the Great State of Kansas". Democrats and other Trump critics in Kansas rallied around Thompson in hopes of dealing the White House a staggering defeat in its first months.

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

Allen said Thompson's strong showing could help recruit Democratic candidates in future races.

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"Those states don't have a highly unpopular governor that is going to have the proverbial millstone around the candidate's neck", Michael O'Donnell, a Kansas GOP commissioner, told the Wichita Eagle on whether the vote signals trouble for Republicans in Georgia.

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