Close election in Kansas gives hope to Democrats

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Mike Finnegan

A special election in a small district in Kansas has made Democrats hopeful as they look toward next year’s midterm elections, in which they will attempt to win back a majority in at least one house of Congress.

In what was thought to be a landslide victory by the Republican candidate, Ron Estes, in an election to replace a congressional seat left vacated by the appointment of Mike Pompeo to C.I.A. director, the final result was only 53 percent of the vote for Estes. This came as a plummet to previous years’ numbers, where Pompeo was winning by large margins. 

President Donald Trump won by a margin of 27 points in this district. 

The Democratic candidate, James Thompson, who garnered 46 percent of the vote, received little national help with his campaign until the DNC stepped in with late support after a poll showed the race to be close. The same went for Estes, who received minimal support until the GOP was alerted, at which point a super PAC and the voices of Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan began contributing to the campaign.

While some attribute the surprising contest to a rocky start to Trump’s presidency, others blame Kansas Gov. Brownback for weighing down other Republicans in Kansas, as the New York Times reports. All in, the Republicans’ margin of victory for the race fell 24 points from the last Kansas congressional seat’s last election.