Nate Jackson / April 12, 2017

A Special Win for Republicans

In the first special election since November, Republicans held Mike Pompeo’s seat in Kansas. It was close.

In the first special election since Donald Trump’s big win in November, Republicans held Mike Pompeo’s seat in Kansas. Trump tapped Pompeo to head the CIA, and Ron Estes will now take his seat representing Kansas’ 4th District, which has been in Republican hands since 1994. Estes won topped 53% in a three-way race with Democrat James Thompson and Libertarian Chris Rockhold. The race was important because both sides put all their resources into it — Mike Pence, Ted Cruz and even Trump recorded get-out-the-vote messages. And Democrats were hoping to serve up the first election rebuke of Trump. It wasn’t to be.

That doesn’t mean all is well for Republicans. The Heritage Foundation’s Rachel Bovard argues, “I think the closeness of this race is a warning to the GOP. Trump won this district by almost 30 points, and Pompeo never won less than 60 percent of the vote.” Fox News adds, “The Republican’s margin of victory was just over 8,000 votes. By contrast, Pompeo won re-election in November by 31 percentage points and 85,000 votes.”

Bovard continues, “To have a House race this close in a safe GOP district within the first 100 days is troubling. It means those voters who were so motivated to get out and vote for Trump are waning in enthusiasm, either for Trump or for Congress, or both. The GOP should be watching closely and understand that this is a dynamic that could easily play out in the 2018 midterms if they don’t start keeping the promises they ran on.”

Next up for the GOP: Defending seats in Georgia, Montana and South Carolina. That will provide a little bit better picture for Republican prospects — especially given the seat in Georgia was vacated by now-HHS Secretary Tom Price.

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