For weeks the left and the political media have been touting the possibility of an upset victory for Mike Pompeo’s vacant seat. The story was that this was a referendum on Trump, Republicans were disaffected and Democrats were fired up. The election was held yesterday and the GOP held the seat:
Republican Ron Estes will be the next congressman from the state of Kansas, but his victory Tuesday night did not come as easily as many expected in the deep-red state.
GOP strategists warned in recent days that Democrat James Thompson, a civil rights attorney, was in striking distance against Estes, Kansas state treasurer from Wichita, in the special election to replace Mike Pompeo.
Estes trailed Thompson early in the night, but began to pull ahead around 9 p.m. In the end, Estes prevailed with 53 percent to Thompson’s 45 percent. Libertarian candidate Chris Rockhold drew about 2 percent of the vote.
Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district nearly 2-to-1 and the fact that Thompson made the race competitive will likely have reverberations both nationally and in Kansas as the state moves into 2018 with the governor’s office up for grabs.
There is a lot of hyperbole here. This was a low turnout election that had been nationalized by the Democrats to “prove” Trump was hurting the GOP and to improve their fundraising. Yes, the GOP brought some much-needed firepower to bear at the end but the hype about this race was merely political theater. This type of election where you have one party fired up with a lot of resources and the other party used to winning by 20-30 points and not paying attention isn’t really indicative of much. The race for Tom Price’s seat falls into the same category.
It is a long time, a couple of political lifetimes, until 2018. It is way too early to predict outcomes. But if the Democrats can’t grab this seat and Price’s when they are only competing in two places it indicates they are going to do no better in 2018 than they did in 2016.