Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Slacker Ron Estes wins the battle—not the war—for Kansas’ hearts and minds
By SJ Otto
Not surprisingly, Ron Estes beat James Thompson, but not by as much as the Republican Party expected or hoped for. Just before 10 last night, Estes finally made it to his election campaign party. Like all other events connected to the campaign, such as debates and public appearances, Estes put little effort into any of it. That slacker was late to his own campaign party.
Thompson ran a real campaign and the Democratic Party mostly ignored him until the last minute. Despite that, he ran an extensive campaign and nearly won with 45 percent of the vote, compared with Estes’ 52 percent. The Libertarian got 2 Percent. Thompson’s people tried to go under the radar with their various efforts at shoring up their supporters.
Realizing what a slacker Estes is, the Republican Party pulled out all the stops. They spent lots of money on this race, at least $459,000, part of it spent running viscous and at times, misleading attack ads. They were running those ads every break on the major TV Stations the day of the election. Both President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence made robocalls to Republican constituents. Ted Cruz made a stop in Wichita to get out the Republican vote. In contrast Thompson spent $240,000 and most of that was money he and his staff raised, not money from the state or national Democratic Party. Much of that money was due to appeals from progressive grassroots organizations that were riding a wave of anti-Trump enthusiasm among Democrats across the country. On the other hand Estes got most of his money from the state and national Republican Party. He and his staff did almost nothing to raise money from individuals.
That vote last night was the closest vote since about 1992. Thompson said on KAKE TV last night, ‘this is just the battle and not the war.’ He plans to run again in 2018. Estes acted like he won by a landslide when he finally showed up for the TV stations. He ignored the difficulty of this race and acted as if he had a mandate to take to Washington to support Trump.
Republicans are right to be worried as to whether they will keep their grip on Kansas. In the last few elections, their support has gone way down and their candidates are now barely winning. Thompson may be right—that this is just a battle and Kansas Democrats, such as him, will win the war for the hearts and minds of Kansans.
Margin of victory in House races