Republican Estes wins Kansas House seat by narrow margin

Fernando Salazar  AP

Fernando Salazar AP

Estes did, in fact, win the election for the House seat vacated by Mike Pompeo, who left to become Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director.

Republican Ron Estes won a Kansas House seat in Tuesday's special election, the first congressional election since President Donald Trump's victory.

Advance voting results and those put Democrat James Thompson well ahead of Republican Ron Estes. "A win is a win but this should have been relatively simple and it wasn't".

Even with Estes' victory, winning majority support for tough votes in Congress could become even more hard if more Republicans see a chance of danger in the 2018 elections, though Republicans have noted that special elections are unpredictable by nature.

But Thompson benefited from Trump's low approval ratings, a deeply unpopular Republican governor and a state GOP that has been hampered by infighting.

The special election in the Georgia 6th district will serve as a bellwether of post-2016 sentiment, as well as President Trump's first few months in office. In 2018, Republicans will be defending 23 seats that Clinton won.

Republican Ron Estes still managed to win Kansas' 4th district, but it wasn't almost the blow-out it should have been.

But that was hardly the case. Libertarian Chris Rockhold was also on the ballot and drew less than 2 percent of the vote.

Yet all of this was unexpected effort against Democrats, who were boosted by grass-roots and independent voters in the district.

The election came down to the wire on Tuesday night as Estes defeated Thompson 53.3 to 45.0 percent with nearly all ballots counted. Wichita is home to Koch Industries, the company led by conservative billionaire political donors Charles and David Koch. Ted Cruz (R-TX), to campaign on behalf of Estes in the district on the day before the campaign.

In this photo from, Monday, Sept. 20, 2010, Ron Estes, the Republican candidate for Kansas state treasurer, discusses his campaign during a news conference at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. That translates to a margin of 50 percent to 48 percent between Thompson and Estes. Republicans are defending four GOP-leaning seats - the Kansas seat plus Georgia, Montana and SC - while Democrats are protecting a seat in a liberal California district.

Maloney oversaw a review of what went wrong in 2016, when the six-seat gain for House Democrats well underperformed expectations.

Trump tells callers in the recording that Estes "needs your vote and needs it badly".

Pompeo repeatedly won with big margins, and President Donald Trump carried the district easily previous year.

Yet even before the results were in, Democrats claimed victory in defeat, noting how much Estes was underperforming typical Republicans in the district, how energized Democratic voters are, and that several upcoming special elections, not to mention the 2018 midterms, will happen on more friendly turf. Barring a return of the Populist Party, rural voters are right-leaning, urban ones are left-leaning, and suburban areas are in the middle.