Speed Reads

2014 midterms

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback ekes out re-election victory

In yet another incredible victory for the GOP, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has won re-election despite his dismal approval rating. With about 82 percent of the vote counted, Democratic challenger Paul Davis conceded the race.

The result is a stunner, as Davis comfortably led in polls as recently as two months ago. FiveThirtyEight gave him an 80 percent chance of winning heading into election night.

Aided by huge majorities in the state legislature, Brownback implemented an ultraconservative agenda that left the state facing hundreds of millions of dollars in projected budget shortfalls. That didn't sit well with voters, a whopping 54 percent of whom said they disapproved of his job performance, according to a recent PPP survey. By contrast, barely one-third of voters said they approved of how he'd handled his job.

Still, on a night when seemingly everything went right for Republicans, Brownback pulled out the win.