Kansas special election puts Trump, Republicans to test

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
By Paul Martin

11 Apr, 2017

President Donald Trump himself is getting involved in a special election in Kansas, as Republicans face an unexpectedly strong challenge for the House of Representatives seat vacated by Mike Pompeo when he became director of the CIA.

Republicans are running State Treasurer Ron Estes in Kansas’s 4th Congressional District, but internal polls show him barely ahead of Democrat James Thompson, the Kansas City Star reported.

“I’ve heard people whose opinions I respect tell me they think it would be single digits,” Clay Barker, the executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, told the paper.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stumped for Estes in Wichita on Monday, while Vice-President Mike Pence and even Trump himself recorded calls to Republican voters in the district, urging them to turn out and vote.

“Ron Estes needs your vote, and needs it badly,” the president says in the message. “This is an important election. There’s really few very much more important. And I need your vote for Ron Estes on Tuesday.”

Some Republicans are blaming the “no energy” way Estes campaigned, while others are critical of the TV ad showing him standing in a swamp and asking voters to help him drain it, according to the Star. The ad echoed Trump’s campaign promise to change the government in Washington.

Democrats have used the imagery against Estes, depicting the two-term state treasurer as a career politician and “swamp creature” of Republican Governor Sam Brownback, shown in their counter-ad as an alligator.

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