WICHITA: Republicans held on to a Kansas House seat Tuesday in the first congressional election since President Donald Trump's victory, beating back a spirited Democratic campaign hoping for a big anti-Trump backlash.
Republican state Treasurer Ron Estes will represent the Kansas 4th congressional district replacing Mike Pompeo, who Trump named as CIA director.
Tuesday's vote was in a heavily Republican district where Trump won 60 percent of votes in November's election. Pompeo won re-election in November by 31 points. But the 17-county congressional district has been battered by a slump in the farm economy and the loss of manufacturing jobs in the aircraft plants in Wichita.
In the waning days of the campaign, Republicans pulled in U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to campaign in Wichita for Estes, and both Vice President Mike Pence and Trump recorded robo calls for him. A flood of big GOP campaign donations and a last-minute ad buy last week of nearly $100,000 by the National Republican Congressional Committee also signaled GOP nervousness.
The 60-year-old state treasurer defeated Democrat James Thompson, a civil rights attorney. The 46-year-old political newcomer was backed by Our Revolution, the group that continues the work of Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign.
Libertarian Chris Rockhold trailed a distant third in the race.
Republicans have represented the district since Todd Tiahrt unseated veteran Democratic Rep. Dan Glickman in 1994. Pompeo won the state's 4th District seat in 2010, when Tiahrt gave it up to run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate.
Estes supported Trump last year and backs the president's policies. He supports the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, backs funding for a wall on the border with Mexico, opposes funding for Planned Parenthood, and does not believe an independent investigation into Russian hacking of the election is needed.
Trump's selections for top administration jobs and a California Democratic appointment have created five openings in the U.S. House, where Republicans have a 237-193 edge. In addition to the Kansas seat, Republicans are defending GOP-leaning seats in Georgia, Montana and South Carolina — while Democrats are protecting a seat in a liberal California district.