On Tuesday, America will see its first federal general election since the tumultuous campaign season of 2016 where President Donald Trump shocked the political world by upsetting Hillary Clinton. What race gets to be the lucky winner? That would be the special election in Kansas’s 4th Congressional District whose seat was vacated by Congressman Mike Pompeo when he was nominated by Trump to lead the CIA.
The candidates in the race are Kansas State Treasure Ron Estes (R) and civil rights attorney James Thompson (D). The western Kansas district is considered a safe seat for the Republican Party; however, according to ABC News, the National Republican Congressional Committee took out a last minute ad buy of around $100,000, suggesting that the NRCC doesn’t want to count their chickens before they hatch.
The first races to follow a presidential election are largely viewed as a metric for the approval or disapproval of the White House, and with the first 100 days quickly coming to a close, the Trump administration will surely want no negative press and for a clean win for the GOP.
For its part, the Republican Party seems to be rallying strongly behind its candidate. The Kansas City Star reports that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has been fundraising on Estes' behalf. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) campaigned with Estes on Monday, leading up to the election.
On the Democratic side, Thompson is also seeing support from national organizations. According to The Huffington Post, Thompson has raised $240,000.00 since Thursday in large donations, thanks to support from groups like ActBlue, Daily Kos, Democracy for America, and Our Revolution.
The entirety of Kansas is considered a ‘ruby red’ stronghold for the GOP, and many credited Donald Trump’s win in November to the support he received in rural districts like the Kansas 4th.
One potential problem for the GOP will be the fact that turnout during special elections is traditionally low. That, along with Democratic enthusiasm to resist President Trump, has The Cook Political Report shifting the race from “Likely Republican” to “Lean Republican.”