But the apparent single-digit victory by state treasurer Ron Estes over Democrat James Thompson in Kansas' fourth congressional district was explained away by Republicans as the result of low turnout and voter discontent with one of the country's least popular governors.
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. Whether in the manufacturing industry or in public office, Ron has always worked to improve efficiency and find savings. "A win is a win but this should have been relatively simple and it wasn't".
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.
President Donald Trump turned to Twitter again Wednesday to place his own singular spin on the news.
Estes supported Trump in 2016 and backs a number of the president's policies, including repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, defunding Planned Parenthood, and building a wall along the border with Mexico. If Trump's approval rating stays at around 40%, Democrats will be projected to win the generic House ballot by about ten points. After the 2016 results, taking Trump's performance there into account and averaging it with Romney's, Georgia's 4th District is now the 165th most Republican seat, the Cook report estimates.
But that was hardly the case.
Trump won 60 percent of the votes cast in the 17-county congressional district.
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And Democrats never predicted victory, either.
In a further warning sign for Republicans, Estes narrowly lost the district's most populous county around the city of Wichita to his Democratic opponent James Thompson, a political newcomer. That prompted Republicans to call in the big guns: US Senator Ted Cruz flew in to campaign with Estes, and both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence taped robo-calls for the district.
On Monday, Estes had another influential GOP name stumping for him - Texas Sen. Second, the state's Republican governor, Sam Brownback, is highly unpopular in state and Thompson campaigned hard on a anti-Brownback narrative. Yet Estes claimed only a five-point victory Tuesday over Thompson, a civil rights attorney backed by the Bernie Sanders-aligned group Our Revolution.
Trump's unpopularity was not the only thing hurting Estes. The result was far smaller gap than the lead Trump and former Rep. Mike Pompeo, who is now Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director, had in the 2016 election. Trump barely edged out Democrat Hillary Clinton in the district a year ago.
For weeks, money has flooded into the northern Atlanta suburbs.
Democrat Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old former congressional aide and investigative filmmaker, has raised more than $8 million, a massive amount for a special election, and has tried to galvanize Democrats who hope to turn it into a referendum on Trump's performance.
In a span of eight days, Republicans are defending two House seats after the GOP incumbents left to join President Trump's Cabinet.