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Kansas Congressional Race Getting National Attention

Deborah Shaar
Republican Ron Estes, Democrat James Thompson and Libertarian Chris Rockhold

The congressional election happening in south-central Kansas next week is getting national attention.

The National Republican Congressional Committee spent nearly $100,000 to ramp up campaign ads to support Republican Candidate Ron Estes, who along with Democrat James Thompson and Libertarian Chris Rockhold is vying for Kansas' 4th Congressional District seat.

Some national digital media, such as The Huffington Post, Politico and Cook’s Political Report, have reported on the race that’ll fill the House seat vacated by Mike Pompeo.

NRCC Spokesman Jack Pandol issued a written statement about the Kansas investment: “Our goal at the NRCC, above all else, is to help Republicans win races. If there's a role for us to play, we’ll certainly be there to help."

In another sign of support, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is planning to come to Wichita to campaign for Estes at Yingling Aviation.

Chris Pumpelly, a spokesman for the Thompson campaign, says the last-minute Republican funding is in response to a surge of Democratic support in the district.

"This was supposed to be a safe Republican seat," Pumpelly says. "You would never see this if they thought that this race was in hand for Ron Estes."

By Friday, more than 14,000 people had voted in person or by mail.

Republicans have held the 4th District House seat for two decades. The special election is Tuesday.

The vacancy in the 4th District came in January when Mike Pompeo resigned from Congress to become the CIA director. Pompeo served as the district’s representative since 2010.

The 4th Congressional District covers 17 counties in south-central Kansas, including the state’s largest city, Wichita.

Pumpelly says the Thompson campaign has received financial support from 85,000 individuals.

"There’s a grass-roots movement in Wichita, and being from Wichita, it’s incredibly inspiring for me to see that people are responding to a Kansas veteran like James Thompson," Pumpelly says. "I think we’re really going to have a great night on Tuesday if this keeps up."

The 4th District special election will be the first congressional election since President Trump took office. There are four other U.S. House special elections coming before June.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar

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