There is a special election today in the Fourth Congressional District of Kansas to fill the seat vacated by Mike Pompeo, the man tapped to head the CIA by Donald Trump. As a result, Pompeo’s seat must be filled and the battle is raging in this deep-red conservative district where it may come down to the wire.

Here’s the background from NPR:

A special election in Kansas Tuesday has Republicans sounding worried about an enthusiasm gap in the Trump era.

Trump himself was apparently worried enough that he cut a robo call for Republican state party Treasurer Ron Estes.

“On Tuesday, Republican Ron Estes needs your vote — and needs it badly,” the president says in the recorded call intended to boost Estes in the race to replace Mike Pompeo, who is serving as Trump’s CIA director. “Ron is a conservative leader who’s going to work with me to make American great again. We’re going to do things really great for our country. Our country needs help; Ron is going to be helping us — big league. But I need Republicans like Ron Estes to help me get the job done. This is an important election. There’s really few very much more important. And I need your vote for Ron Estes on Tuesday.”

This is a heavily Republican district that includes Wichita. It’s one that Trump won by 27 points in 2016. But in a low turnout election, almost anything can happen.

Estes will probably win, but it’s not a guarantee and stands as a test to how both parties can perform following the election of Trump to the presidency.

Roll Call has changed their rating on the Kansas race from “Solid Republican” to “Likely Republican:”

The April 11 race between Republican state Treasurer Ron Estes and Democrat James Thompson, a lawyer, hasn’t received a lot of attention, but the National Republican Congressional Committee recently began an ad campaign in a district Trump carried comfortably in November. National and local Democrats haven’t put in much time or effort into the race, but there is some GOP concern about the enthusiasm gap and the quality of the Estes campaign.

We’re changing the Inside Elections/Roll Call rating from Solid Republican to Likely Republican.

Updates later tonight after the polls close at 7pm CT in Kansas.


Republican Ron Estes held on for the narrow win last night, 52 to 45:

Kansas 4TH CD Results

That margin of victory can’t leave the GOP feeling too comfortable right now with the prospects of the 2018 midterms on the horizon.

Also of note, there is a special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional district on April 18th. This contest is to fill the seat vacated by Tom Price, who was nominated by Trump to lead the Department of Health of Human Services.


  1. The fact that the GOP is paying any attention to this is startling. We posted this just six weeks ago:

    Kansas . . .
    • Election date: April 11
    • 2016 presidential margin: Trump 60, Clinton 33
    • 2016 House margin: Mike Pompeo (Republican) 61 percent, Daniel Giroux (Democrat) 30 percent

    The suspense in this Republican-leaning district evaporated the minute Republicans selected State Treasurer Ron Estes as their candidate to replace Mike Pompeo, recently sworn in as Trump’s CIA director. . . Democrats can probably consider it a victory of sorts if [attorney James] Thompson loses by less than 20 percentage points. . .

    • From the conservative Washington Examiner:

      “President Trump carried the district by 27 points in November. Rep. Mike Pompeo, who resigned earlier this year to serve as director of the CIA, won it by 31 points.

      No Democrat has won this seat since 1992, the year Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush.

      Estes, however, is set to prevail by less than 7 points, a warning sign for the House Republican majority less than 100 days into the Trump administration.”

        • You didn’t read very carefully. The two numbers related to different things.

          Also, it’s not “you said,” it’s quoted from FiveThirtyEight.

          But the bottom line is, four months after winning by 31 points, the GOP candidate lost 25% of support–and that was after $100,000 the GOP spent on one weekend, visits by Cruz, and even a robo call by Trump.

          I’m not saying that’s a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just remark-able.

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