Trump Dives Into Surprisingly Competitive House Election in Solidly GOP Kansas

Kansas 4th District congressional candidate Ron Estes, right, and Sen. The 4th District is historically Republican and was only considered competitive in the days leading up to the election.

And Trump, as well as, Vice President Mike Pence recorded a robocall endorsing the candidate for the seat. The president joined the effort for Estes through social media and get-out-the-vote calls. His campaign announced Monday that it hit 20,000 in total donors, with most people giving small-dollar contributions. “I mean, they said, ‘Oh, you’re a long shot, you can’t win, ‘” Thompson recounted Monday. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), helped contribute $900. When Trump implemented his Muslim ban shortly after, protesters flooded airports, again organically, but this time joined by a handful of Democratic politicians who were seeing the resistance for the sustained movement that it was.

That contest will be held on April 18. Only 220 eligible voters in Pawnee County lived in that congressional district and 28 percent voted.

The Associated Press called the race for Estes shortly before 10 p.m. Thompson carried Sedgwick County, but Estes prevailed elsewhere.

“You fight”, Thompson said when asked what the results should show Democrats.

“We can make progress in Kansas”, DNC chairman Tom Perez told The Washington Post last week when asked about the decision to sit on the sidelines of the race.

How then were Democrats able to come so close to upsetting the GOP?

Libertarian Chris Rockhold trailed a distant third in the race. Only six days ago, Cook had this race as a “Solid Seat”.

The race was rated Likely Republican on the PPD Election Projection Model, though Estes was a particularly weak candidate.

Republicans from the president down made the election, in a district Trump won by 27 points in November, a focus over the last week, with Trump calling Estes “a wonderful guy” on Twitter Tuesday morning.

CORNISH: But the Democrat, James Thompson, an Army veteran and civil rights lawyer, is too close for comfort for the Republicans.

“The key question is whether the weakness of Estes tonight was due to his shortcomings as a candidate, the weakness of the state party under Brownback, or a sign of Trump’s national unpopularity”, he said.

Thompson’s success is remarkable, considering he has had very little support from the state or national Democratic party.

National Democrats have argued that their staying away allowed Thompson to fly under the radar and avoid stronger firepower from Republicans eager to tie him to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. But a narrow result, especially one in single digits, could be a warning sign for the GOP ahead of a handful of upcoming special elections this year and next year’s midterm elections. As of now, Democrats will need to only secure three seats to control the Senate; Republicans will need eight to lock down a filibuster-proof majority.

Asked if there was any way that people outside the district, including Kos, could have known sooner that the election was competitive, Nir said he thought it wasn’t possible, other than going on pure intuition.

James Thompson gives his concession speech Tuesday night. He trailed eventual winner Ron Estes by just 7 percentage points