Kansas Democrat plans another run for Congress

Kansas state Treasurer Ron Estes held a heavily Republican House district for the GOP in a special election Tuesday, but Democrats lashing back against the Republican Party gave Estes a scare in the first major federal election of Donald Trump's presidency.

Tuesday's special election in Kansas-the first congressional election during the Trump presidency- determined who will fill the vacancy left by the newly appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Estes won 52.5 percent of the vote, beating out Democratic civil rights attorney James Thompson, who fell short with 45.7 percent support.

In a sign of nervousness in the waning days of the campaign, Republicans poured money into the race to bolster Estes. Estes won with 53 percent of the vote after the Republican Party funded a series of anti-choice attack ads against Thompson.

"I'm probably not supposed to say this, but Mr Estes did not beat us", Thompson told supporters Tuesday night.

Last year, the Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo (now the president's Central Intelligence Agency director) won re-election by more than 30 points. Democrat Jon Ossoff has raised $8.3 million - and the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC have spent millions attacking him - ahead of the 18-person "jungle primary".

Because of the deathly pallor that Brownback casts on the Republican party in Kansas, the results of this special election are not terribly instructive as to the current state of public sentiment toward the Republican party as a whole.

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Trump on Wednesday submitted a Tweet celebrating Estes' victory. If no one reaches 50%, the top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff election June 20.

Lewis said despite the loss, Democrats are motivated and said the 2016 election "turned a switch on" for many to become more active and to get out and vote. The race was important because both sides put all their resources into it - Mike Pence, Ted Cruz and even Trump recorded get-out-the-vote messages. To this extent, the fact that Republicans managed to hold onto Kansas' 4th district in yesterday's special election is precisely the outcome the GOP wanted to see. But Republicans in Kansas or nationwide who dismiss this as just another close call might do so at their peril.

In response, Republicans made last-minute efforts to campaign for Estes. So were national Republicans, who were anxious enough that the party gave Kansas more attention in the last week or two than it does in some presidential elections.

Even so, any extrapolation from special elections - whether in Kansas, Georgia, or anywhere else - must be tempered. But due to changing demographics in the state and anti-Trump sentiments, it appears to be that Democratic candidate may pull it off.

Trump's unpopularity was not the only thing hurting Estes.

According to official election data from the 2016 General Election, Pompeo defeated Democratic challenger Dan Giroux 60.6 percent to 29.6 percent, a margin of 31 percent.