Published: Fri, April 14, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

Here's What President Trump Got Wrong About the Kansas Special Election

Here's What President Trump Got Wrong About the Kansas Special Election

The 4th District is historically Republican and was only considered competitive in the days leading up to the election. KSN talked with Jeff Jarman, political analyst, to find out why. President Donald Trump had won that county by 18 points, the Associated Press reported. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was supported nearly entirely by individual small-dollar donors, while Estes had to lean on 11th-hour support from Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and a massive ad buy from the National Republican Congressional Committee to survive the race.

Thompson called his campaign "people-powered" because much of his fundraising came from individual donors.

The civil rights attorney said he was inspired by Sen.

The April 11 election in Kansas's fourth congressional district has drawn about $500,000 in total campaign spending, including about $200,000 in last-minute money from Republican groups, according to reports on independent campaign expenditures filed with the Federal Election Commission.

This means not only fund-raising in deep blue states to sponsor operations in swing states, but also building up the Democratic party in new places - such as Kansas. And the GOP has struggled to put away a trio of special election House races in districts where it won easily just last November.

In this March 23, 2017, photo, Democrat James Thompson, a candidate for Kansas' 4th Congressional District, speaks during a debate in Wichita, Kan. There he had 50 percent of the vote to Estes' 48 percent.

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. If Democrats can duplicate what happened in Kansas in 2018, they will win back the House.

Analysts say Libertarian candidate Chris Rockhold's bid for public office was a long-shot. Early voting there has favored Democrats. But like many upscale suburban areas, there was a significant shift towards the Democrats and Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Trump carried the district by only 1.5 percent, while Price won by 24 percent. Pompeo cruised to re-election in November with 61 percent of the vote.

In the 2nd District of eastern Kansas, including Lawrence, Rep. Lynn Jenkins has already announced her plans to retire, making that an open race next year.

Chapman Rackaway, a political science professor at Fort Hays State University, told the Wichita Eagle that Kansas "Democrats are fired up and they're mobilizing". Although Estes ran poorly compared to Trump and Pompeo in 2016, he ran slightly ahead of Brownback and about as well as GOP senator Pat Roberts in 2014. Some believe that the Democratic national party abandoned the race, while others argue that if the national party got involved, it would have hurt Thompson.

The southern Kansas district, dominated by Wichita and its suburbs, has been represented by Republicans since the 1994 wave election that gave the party control of the House of Representatives for the first time since the 1950s.

So while Estes is the victor, his Democratic opponent, James Thompson, can also claim some victory (but no seat in Congress). Georgia's 6th District seat is vacant because Republican Tom Price stepped down to be Trump's secretary of Health and Human Services.

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