A narrow win for US Republicans in first post-Trump election

Kansas 4th District congressional candidate Ron Estes front left thanks Sen. Ted Cruz who came to Wichita to campaign for Estes the day before a special election at Yingling Aviation Monday

In the first special congressional election since President Trump took office, a Republican candidate won a narrower-than-expected victory in a district Trump easily carried less than six months ago.

"Republican Ron Estes needs your vote and needs it badly", Trump said in the minute-long call. "A win is a win but this should have been relatively simple and it wasn't".

Democrats had hoped to capitalize on Trump's poor approval rating and dissatisfaction among moderates with Republican Governor Sam Brownback to win back one of 24 seats they need nationwide to reclaim the House.

Trump's selections for top administration jobs and a California Democratic appointment have created five openings in the U.S. House, where Republicans have a 237-193 edge.

"Ron Estes is running TODAY for Congress in the Great State of Kansas". The open seats are in Georgia's 6th District, Montana's at-large district, South Carolina's 5th District and California's 34th District. Thompson opposed Kansas State Treasurer, (R) Ron Estes, for the Kansas 4th Congressional district.

But that was hardly the case.

Kansas is a very red state, so red that Donald Trump won by 27 percent and Pompeo won reelection to the seat with a 30 percent margin.

It's a hard district for a Democrat to win and Thompson, an attorney, was a first-time candidate.

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Fearing potential fallout, Republicans injected last-minute money to help Estes while Trump and Vice President Mike Pence recorded get-out-the-vote phone calls on the candidate's behalf.

"Certainly Estes is not helped by [Republican Governor Sam] Brownback", Loomis said, referring to the Kansas governor who recently vetoed Medicaid expansion that would have given health care to 150,000 people in the state. Both Estes and Thompson had major get-out-the vote drives.

Allen thought the race was getting attention also simply because it was the only political drama playing out now, unlike in November, when all state legislative seats were on the ballot.

Estes said voters he talked to were largely satisfied with Trump's leadership. After Estes' win, Trump tweeted that Democrats spent heavily in this race (which is not true).

Estes said in his victory speech Tuesday night that his campaign showed political pundits and national media that they were wrong in suggesting he could lose the race. Still, combining the share all Democratic candidates and Republicans candidates earned, the Republicans lead slightly with 51% to 43%. "The reason I went up to campaign there is that we had a vacant congressional seat, and the numbers were looking close". "That's why he's raising expectations on himself".

"It was a close race", he said, "and it shouldn't have been".

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.

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