Miércoles, 22 Agosto, 2018

$14 Million Poured Into Georgia's Special Election

Irune Rengel | 16 Abril, 2017, 17:32

Republicans have survived an election scare, winning a Kansas House seat in the first congressional election since President Donald Trump's victory, but the margin was much closer than expected.

The importance of the election was demonstrated by the national GOP figures who campaigned for Estes. "A win is a win but this should have been relatively simple and it wasn't".

National Democrats had mostly stayed out of the race that had until recently promised to be a Republican landslide.

The healthcare bill was a major failure as House Speaker Paul Ryan couldn't muster enough support from Republicans to even get a floor vote on the bill despite a big push from Trump.

Republicans have had a hard stretch, with the health care debacle, federal and congressional probes into Trump campaign contacts with Russian officials and contentious town halls in congressional districts.

Thompson lost to Republican Ron Estes, 45.7 percent to 52.5 percent, in Tuesday's special congressional election.

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But that was hardly the case.

Trump won 60 percent of votes in November's election in the 17-county district in south-central Kansas that includes the state's largest city of Wichita. In addition, there is a huge field of mostly Republican candidates who have trained their fire on one another, while documentary filmmaker Jon Ossoff largely has had the Democratic field to himself.

Estes, the state's treasurer, had been the favorite to win the election, but a campaign by Democrat James Thompson threatened the traditionally Republican seat.

The Republicans infused the Estes campaign with additional funds, produced automated phone calls recorded by Trump, and sent in Republican US Senator Ted Cruz on Monday to campaign on Estes' behalf.

Cruz, who made a Monday trip to Wichita, told the radio host that he stumped for GOP candidate Ron Estes because "the numbers were looking close" - and that his party should view the narrow margin as a red flag.

Thompson has tapped into voter frustration with Brownback throughout the campaign, tying the state treasurer to the unpopular Republican governor.

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"The key question is whether the weakness of Estes tonight was due to his shortcomings as a candidate, the weakness of the state party under Brownback, or a sign of Trump's national unpopularity", he said.

A Democrat last won the fourth district in 1992. No Democrat has held a seat there since 1994. Races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey next fall could also provide a window into Trump's popularity. And the GOP has struggled to put away a trio of special election House races in districts where it won easily just last November. The first round of voting in that election is April 18.

The results of next Tuesday's special election in Georgia's 6th congressional district will likely be more instructive as to the state of public sentiment toward both political parties.

If Ossoff wins, or even if he forces the race into a runoff, that could manifest an even bigger drag on Trump's historically low popularity: House Republicans become more resistant to working with their president, which in turn makes Trump's job trying to pass big legislation with his party that much more hard.

But what does it mean for the American Health Care Act, the Republican bill that stalled out before Congress went home for two weeks but that Trump is still swearing to revive? Republicans are defending three other GOP-leaning seats, and Democrats are protecting territory in California.

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