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Kansas Officials Certify Special Congressional Election

Secretary of State

Republican Ron Estes will take his seat in Congress Tuesday after Kansas officials certified his victory in the state's special election.

Gov. Sam Brownback, state Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker on Monday certified the results in the race for Kansas' 4th Congressional District seat, the first congressional special election in Kansas since 1950. 

Totals released Monday show Estes defeated Democrat James Thompson by 6.2 percentage points, a strong challenge by a Democrat in a historically GOP district. Pompeo was re-elected to the seat by about 30 percentage points in November.

Voter turnout in this month's election was under 30 percent, less than half the turnout for the November 2016 vote. Kansas Director of Elections Bryan Caskey says it can be hard to attract attention for special elections.

“I think people are conditioned to –when it’s a congressional election– we vote in the even years. When you get into the spring time you get into schools and sports and people have busy lives,” Caskey said.

Estes will replace former Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo, who was chosen by President Donald Trump to head the CIA. Estes was state treasurer before the election. Brownback nominated state Sen. Jake LaTurner to the post, and he will be sworn in Wednesday.

Stephen Koranda is the managing editor of the Kansas News Service, based at KCUR. He has nearly 20 years of experience in public media as a reporter and editor.
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