Republicans' narrow win for Kansas seat embolden Democrats

Marsha Scott
April 13, 2017

Estes defeated civil rights lawyer James Thompson by only about five percentage points, suggesting some backlash against Republicans since November.

But still, as The Huffington Posted noted, the DCCC isn't running ads in Montana, "a sign that they see the race as unwinnable and not worth the investment ― and also that they worry any support from national Democrats would make the race a referendum on the two parties".

Take Price's seat. After the 2012 elections, Price was considered to hold the 77th most Republican district in the nation, placing him in the top third of most conservative-leaning seats among Republican House members.

The National Republican Congressional Committee channeled $92,000 into the race in its final days. Last week, internal Republican polling revealed that Estes' lead was thin and the GOP started pouring in resources, launching attack ads accusing Thompson of supporting "sex-selective abortions" and shipping in Ted Cruz for an airport rally in Wichita, a scene that should probably be added into the third panel of Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights.

The Georgia race would seem to represent the second such test, and a victory for Democrats could cause some Republicans to question the political liability of aligning themselves with Trump.

Next up for the GOP: Defending seats in Georgia, Montana and SC.

The biggest challenge, several party figures said in recent interviews, is translating their opposition to specific Republican policies — Trump's immigration restrictions, nixing the Affordable Care Act, a promised tax overhaul and any changes to Social Security and Medicare — into a coherent explanation of what Democrats want to do for voters. "It's a sign that the Democrats had a candidate that made the most of an opportunity and came very close". She learned that firsthand in November 2016 when the one-time Republican Allen ran as an independent in the 4th Congressional District against Republican incumbent Mike Pompeo, plus a Democrat and a Libertarian.

"Regardless of what the result is, I don't think you take it either way as a ringing endorsement or an indictment" of Trump, Kobach said at Estes' watch party in Wichita.

"Ron Estes is running TODAY for Congress in the Great State of Kansas", Trump tweeted early Tuesday as voters went to the polls.

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"I think there was a little bit of a, 'Where's Ron?' kind of deal, and of course the news media loved it", Hutton continued.

All four districts should, under ordinary circumstances, stay firmly in the red column. Democrats are expected to maintain a California seat vacated by former Rep. Xavier Becerra, now the state's attorney general.

Some Democrats are smelling blood in the water, Rackaway said.

Trump had more tepid support in Georgia's 6 District, which stretches from east Cobb to north DeKalb.

"That does not escape the attention of voters", said Ian Russell, who served as the DCCC's political director previous year. And it will galvanize Democrats' candidate-recruitment efforts for next year's campaign.

There are dangers in reading too much into the Kansas race.

Lucy Jones-Phillips, a 31-year-old insurance representative and Democrat, acknowledged she doesn't vote in every election, but said she voted for Thompson because she wanted to register her disappointment in Brownback, especially his veto of an expansion of Medicaid. 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, .

If the electorate looks next year as it used to look, these two Republicans will again cruise to reelection - and Republicans will win the Georgia special election.

In the end, the race to fill now-CIA Director Mike Pompeo's seat in Congress wasn't as close as some thought, but closer than it normally would have been.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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