Speed Reads

2017 Elections

Republican Ron Estes narrowly wins Kansas special congressional election

Kansas state Treasurer Ron Estes (R) won a special election in the state's 4th congressional district on Tuesday, The Associated Press projects, narrowly beating Democrat James Thompson in a heavily Republican district that includes Wichita, the headquarters of Koch Industries, and hasn't elected a Democrat since 1992. The seat was vacated by Mike Pompeo, the new CIA director, who won re-election in November by 31 percentage points; Estes is expected to win by about 5 points.

This was the first congressional race since Trump's electoral victory, and Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both recorded campaign robocalls for Estes in the race's final days, while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) made a last-minute campaign stop and the the National Republican Congressional Committee poured $100,000 into the race in the final week. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee barely put any money in the race, and it and the Democratic National Committee are facing some criticism for sitting it out.

The narrow victory is seen as a warning sign for Republicans, though Gov. Sam Brownback (R) is deeply unpopular and was seen as a drag on Estes. The next big test will be a special election in Georgia's 6th district, where Democrat Jon Ossoff is currently leading a field of Republicans to fill the seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.