Thursday, April 13, 2017

Don’t overreact to the Kansas special election

By midnight, the results from the Kansas special election were Republican Ron Estes with 52.5% of the vote to 45.7% for Democrat James Thompson.   Yes, it’s probably true that 6 points is too close in a heavy GOP district but he won.  
One of the critical features of this election was that the Republican nominee was the state treasurer. Given Brownback’s widespread unpopularity, and the significant budget hole that could be (perhaps unfairly) attributed to Estes, it isn’t surprising that Thompson ran well.
Moreover, Thompson didn’t exactly run as a national Democrat. While he wasn’t a conservative Democrat by any stretch of the imagination, his website emphasized his support for Second Amendment rights, funding law enforcement, and “discourage[ing] illegal [immigration] activity,” alongside support for LGBT rights and steps to combat climate change. Again, this isn’t to say he is conservative or a “blue dog” Democrat; he isn’t. It’s just to say he ran to Hillary Clinton’s right, especially on the salient issue of guns.
While we are on the subject of Thompson’s website, notice that his issues page never mentioned Trump. Brownback’s name, however, appears eight times, three times in bold. Again, local issues really were an important feature of the race.
So was Thompson running against the unpopular Governor Brownback or what?   Again, look at the candidate’s website.  
Did he call on Congresswoman Pelosi to campaign for him?   I don’t think so!  
Does he favor sanctuary cities?   Probably not!
Yes, it was closer than it should have been but the GOP did not exactly put up a candidate that excited anyone.        
We repeat that incumbent GOP Governor Brownback is extremely unpopular and Mr. Estes is the state treasurer.     Estes was not exactly a dream candidate!
What does it mean for 2018?    At this point, not much.    Let’s check the landscape in the summer of 2018!
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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