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Republican Ron Estes Wins Congressional Seat in Contested Race

Estes won by only five points in a district that handed Trump a decisive 27-point margin of victory.

Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes narrowly defeated Democrat James Thompson in a hotly contested special congressional election held Tuesday in Kansas’ fourth district, filling the seat vacated by Mike Pompeo after he was tapped to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

Estes was running in a district that includes Wichita, where President Donald Trump won by a 27-point margin over Hillary Clinton in November, and where Pompeo won re-election by 31 points. Yet Estes claimed only a five-point victory Tuesday over Thompson, a civil rights attorney backed by the Bernie Sanders-aligned group Our Revolution.

Reportscirculated in the days leading up to the election that Republicans were nervous about a competitive race, prompting both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to record voice messages urging voters to cast their ballots for Estes.

“We’re going to do things really great for our country. Our country needs help; Ron is going to be helping us — big league,” Trump said in the robo-call.

Democrats looking to snag more seats in the House of Representatives will now turn an eye to Montana, scene of the next special congressional election, to select a replacement for Department of the Interior head Ryan Zinke.