Kansas Treasurer Ron Estes won the special election in the 4th district against Democratic civil rights attorney James Thompson. Estes won with 52% of the vote.

Democrats tried to spin the win into a positive because the margin of victory was small. Naturally, many members of the political media joined them.

Full results: 53-46-2

The Kansas seat opened up after Mike Pompeo left to head the CIA. The Hill reported:

Even national Democrats got involved a day before the race with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) doing 25,000 live calls in the final two days to support Thompson.

Thompson, who won the endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders-aligned group Our Revolution, repeatedly tied Estes to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), who was ranked the most unpopular governor in the country in a poll from late last year.

The New York Times was not much better:

While Mr. Thompson fell short, his unexpected strength represents a warning shot toward Republicans. And it will galvanize Democrats’ candidate-recruitment efforts for next year’s campaign.

But then the House Republican campaign arm released a venomous ad accusing Mr. Thompson of favoring abortion rights for gender selection. Soon after, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas scheduled a rally for Mr. Estes on Monday. And Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence recorded automated get-out-the-vote calls.

A “super PAC” aligned with the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, also intervened, paying for live-turnout calls to likely Republican voters. All told, national Republicans spent about $150,000 on the race.

Thompson could not even take the high road:

“Mr. Estes did not beat us,” Mr. Thompson told supporters after the race was called. “It took a president of the United States, the vice president, the speaker of the House, a senator coming into our state and a bunch of lies to drum up a vote.”

His campaign and the DNC also tried to make this look like a win for the left:

“I think the momentum we’ve seen here on the ground, and outpouring of support from Democrats across the country into races like this, is a good signs for Democrats nationally regardless of what happens tonight,” Thompson campaign manager Colin Curtis said before the election.

“Kansas’ 4th Congressional District is ruby red and should never have been on the table,” DCCC communications director Meredith Kelly said in a statement. “This massive swing from the 2016 presidential results should set off alarm bells for House Republicans.”

Twitter was where Democrats went to brag about their “win”, and a few objective observers weighed in:

Even Rachel Maddow explains why the GOP should be TERRIFIED with a victory.


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