The GOP is Surprisingly Nervous About Kansas’ Special Election Today
This should not even be a remotely competitive race. Kansas is a very Red, GOP state.
“It’s not often that a sitting Republican president, vice president, a former presidential candidate and senator and the speaker of the House make an effort days before a special election to hold what’s supposed to be a safe GOP seat.”
“Today, the eyes of the whole country are on Kansas,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said at a Monday rally for state Treasurer Ron Estes, the GOP nominee in the 4th District.
“The same day, President Donald Trump recorded a robocall for Estes, who, based on the late involvement of national Republicans, finds himself in a closer-than-expected election to fill the seat vacated by Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo.”
“This is an important election,” Trump says on the call. “There’s really few very much more important.”
Shaping the narrative
“But the real drama in Kansas’ 4th District may not be whether Estes wins Tuesday night, but rather by how much. Both parties will likely use that margin to shape their political narratives going forward ahead of another special election in a much more competitive district next week.”
“While the voices of national GOP heavyweights have flooded the district over the past few days, national Democrats have quietly smiled at the Republicans’ panic but largely stayed away.”
“Until the day before Election Day, that is. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began running 25,000 live phone calls on Monday, confident that it’d be too late for any association with the national party to damage nominee James Thompson in deep red territory.”
“Democratic strategists say Thompson has likely been able to narrow the gap with Estes because of, not despite, the lack of investment from the national party.”
“It’s probably better strategically for [Democrats] to ‘not’ have invested,” one Democratic consultant said. “He’s been successful by flying under the radar,” another operative added.
Though there is a new, interesting ad that came out tying Estes to the unpopular GOP Governor, Sam Brownback:
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) April 11, 2017
That might be the national Democrats. The Dems don’t expect to win. But a close showing would still be a bad harbinger for the GOP. And the fact that all the GOP heavyweights-Ryan, Trump, Pompeo, Pence-suggests they’re nervous.
The Dems may also be keeping down expectations. And as the Democratic party isn’t popular in Kansas they’re keeping a low profile.
“Republicans undertake unexpected rescue mission in deep red Kansas.”
“Thompson was not supposed to win — or even come close — in this largely rural 4th District, which picked Donald Trump for president by 27 points. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R) vacated the seat to lead the CIA, and Republicans expected to hold it easily.”
“But in the final days before Tuesday’s special election, Republicans reacted to weak polling and turnout data by rushing resources to southern Kansas. A GOP super PAC rolled out robo-calls over the weekend from Vice President Pence, and on Monday from President Trump, in support of candidate Ron Estes.”
“This — the home town of Koch Industries — is the last place the GOP expected to have to undertake a rescue mission. The Kansas seat is one of the reddest of the five House seats vacated in the Trump era, four of them by Republicans who joined the new administration. If Thompson ends up winning here, the national Democratic Party will claim the victory as a portent of bad things to come for Republicans in the 2018 midterms with Trump in the White House.”
Estes struggles here have less to do with Trump than the unpopularity of Brownback. James Thompson has been playing down his Dem label. If Thompson can even come close-let alone win-this will be very worrisome for the national party.
Then next week there is Tom Price’s old seat.
“Democrats also have an opportunity in Georgia’s 6th District, where Jon Ossoff is surging in the race to replace former congressman Tom Price (R), who is now health and human services secretary.”
“Ossoff has received over $8 million dollars in just three months. Unlike Thompson, Ossoff identifies himself as part of the #Resistance, with the national Dems and mostly as a rebuke to Trumpism. Trump is still popular in Kansas but he’s not in GA 6th where Trump beat Hillary Clinton by just 1.5% points.”
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
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