Cruz: Close House race in Kansas 'a warning sign'

Alan Branum, 64, a retired construction worker is a Wichita Democrat who voted for Estes and plans to change his party affiliation to Republican since he leans more conservative. Former Republican congressman Mike Pompeo, whose elevation to the directorship of the Central Intelligence Agency created this special election, regularly won KS-04 by 30 points. Percentage numbers were similar for Democratic support when the Democratic Party took control of both chambers after 2007.

In a Kansas race that drew national attention as the first congressional election since President Donald Trump took office, a Republican backed by Trump pulled out a closer-than-expected victory in a normally solid GOP House district on Tuesday. But just five months ago, Trump won the district by 27 percentage points, a sharp turnaround driven by an energized Democratic base looking to strike back against Trump - and Kansas' unpopular Republican governor, Sam Brownback.

Estes beat Democrat James Thompson in a solidly red district by around 5 percent, only after Republicans made a last-minute push to save their seat.

"Republicans nationally should be very anxious", said Bob Beatty, a Washburn University political scientist.

Democrat Jon Ossoff is running in a heated race to fill Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's vacant congressional seat in Georgia's 6th district.

"The key question is whether the weakness of Estes tonight was due to his shortcomings as a candidate, the weakness of the state party under Brownback, or a sign of Trump's national unpopularity", he said.

"Ron has been deeply involved in his community for years and I'm confident he will be a strong voice for Kansas' 4th Congressional District in Washington, D.C.", House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement congratulating the GOP candidate. Brownback also refused to expand the Medicaid health program for the poor.

Estes told the Wichita Eagle on Wednesday that he hadn't heard anything about a possible primary challenge from Wagle, and said he was not yet thinking about his reelection bid next year. "For sure, I will have rural support", she said she thought.

But in a sign of nervousness, Republicans poured money into the race late to bolster Estes. Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence recorded robocalls for him, and Texas Sen.

David Carron, a 50-year-old Republican from Belle Plaine, showed up to vote in his Army uniform. "I finally did. I realized this was important".

Two Republicans strategists familiar with polling data in two of the special election races say the main problem is not that independents and moderate voters have swung en masse to Democrats. The district has been hurt by the downturn in the agricultural economy and the loss of hundreds of well-paying, blue-collar jobs in aircraft manufacturing plants. But Thompson won in Sedgwick County, which includes Wichita.

Estes' victory came after national Republicans scrambled in the final week of the campaign to deny Thompson a shocking upset victory.

Thompson said he plans to run for Congress again in 2018.

Estes defeated Democrat Jim Thompson, a civil rights attorney and army veteran, and Libertarian Chris Rockhold.

For this and other reasons, it's a good idea to watch the voters in Kansas.

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Gallup said the drop in support could be due to "failure by party leaders to fulfill campaign pledges on major pieces of legislation such as tax reform and healthcare".

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