After Estes wins, Democrats train their sights on beating Kevin Yoder, winning governor’s office


Kevin Yoder

Kevin Yoder

Democrats got some very good news Tuesday night even as Republican Ron Estes beat James Thompson in the special congressional election in Kansas.

The 4th District stayed Republican red, but not by nearly as much as in recent elections. Estes won by 7 percentage points; GOP predecessor Mike Pompeo won by 31 percentage points in 2016.

That should give Democrats incredible encouragement that in 2018 they could oust Kevin Yoder in the far more progressive 3rd District, made up mostly of Johnson and Wyandotte counties.

If Democrats put forward anyone decent, they could seize the governor’s office as well next year. Thompson made his race very close by beating up on Gov. Sam Brownback (who can’t run again because of ┬áterm limits) and his absolutely reckless policies, tying them to Estes. The Democratic candidate for governor in 2018 will do the same.

And in the next 18 months or so, all of the grassroots anti-GOP, anti-Trump fervor could increase even more, giving Democrats clearer shots at winning more federal and state races in Kansas.

But there was a bit of encouraging news for Republicans Tuesday night in Kansas, too.

Donald Trump’s problems since becoming president hurt Estes with GOP voters, just not nearly enough.

The GOP decision to parachute in at the last minute — with robocalls from Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and a visit from Sen. Ted Cruz — rallied voters and raised the importance of the election for Republicans.

The decision by national Democratic groups to stay out of the election hurt Thompson’s ability to raise his profile, though it did allow him to run more as a no-strings-attached candidate.

Bottom line: Democrats missed a chance to win the first congressional office up for dibs since Trump became president.

But they did it in a way that promotes the story line that the Republican brand is in big trouble in Kansas.

On to 2018.

7 Thoughts.

  1. The DNC and DCCC need to take notice of Kansas. This was the FIRST special election since the inauguration. Estes received over 39% of his campaign donations from the RNCC. Thompson received 2.2% from the DNC. 2.2. Ted Cruz stumped for Estes the day before the election, robocalls from Pence and King Trump went out over the weekend, and $92,000 worth of attack ads aired the last ten days before the election. The attack ads mentioned Pelosi, Obamacare, and, of course, abortion, claiming that Thompson was in favor of abortion if parents didn’t like the gender of their baby. Thompson never said that. So, DNC and DCCC, PAY ATTENTION TO KANSAS! Thompson declared his candidacy for 2018. HELP HIM WIN THIS! Either get on board with the progressives in Kansas or get left behind.

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