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Democrat Thompson's Strong Showing In Special Election Could Signify Shift In Kansas

Hugo Phan
James Thompson gives his concession speech Tuesday night. He trailed eventual winner Ron Estes by just 7 percentage points.

Local and national media watched as returns came in during Tuesday night's election. A surprise strong showing for the Democratic candidate may signify a slight shift in a traditionally Republican state.

Advance voting results and those put Democrat James Thompson well ahead of Republican Ron Estes. As the night went on Thompson slowly and surely lost the lead, ending up with 46 percent of the vote to Estes' 53 percent.

See the special election results here.

But the fact that Thompson held his own for at least a while meant that the race was watched nationally, as it was the first congressional race since President Trump took office in January.

Neal Allen, a professor of political science at Wichita State University, says Thompson's showing will energize Democrats across the country -- for the short term, at least.

"For Kansas this just shows that the Republican brand is still damaged," Allen says. "Although the question is, is the damage local with Brownback and the Legislature, or are there some larger issues involving the national Republican brand?"


Aileen LeBlanc is news director at KMUW. Follow her on Twitter @Aileen_LeBlanc.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.