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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kansas special election: Republicans roll out big guns as Democrats take shock lead in congressional race

Left-wing candidate James Thompson unexpectedly moves ahead of Ron Estes in polls as chase to succeed new CIA head Mike Pompeo enters final furlong
David Weigel |
@daveweigel |
Tuesday 11 April 2017 13:40 BST|

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The Independent US

James Thompson, the Democratic candidate in Kansas’s 4th Congressional District, campaigns in a Wichita coffee shop David Weigel/The Washington Post

As James Thompson worked his way through a coffee shop, the Democratic candidate for Congress said something that got people to look up from their laptops.

“We've got a lead right now.”

“Really?” said Marla Flentje, a Republican who said she'd voted for him in early balloting.

A trio of Democrats walked over to meet Thompson and tell him they'd vote Tuesday.

“I hope you do, because right now, we're winning,” said Thompson.

Thompson was not supposed to win - or even come close - in this largely rural 4th District, which picked Donald Trump for president by 27 points. Representative Mike Pompeo, R, vacated the seat to lead the CIA, and Republicans expected to hold it easily.

But in the final days before Tuesday's special election, Republicans reacted to weak polling and turnout data by rushing resources to southern Kansas. A GOP super PAC rolled out robo-calls over the weekend from Vice President Mike Pence, and on Monday from President Donald Trump, in support of candidate Ron Estes.

“Ron Estes needs your vote and needs it badly,” Trump said on the call. “Ron is going to be helping us, big league.”

On Monday, Republicans also dispatched Senator Ted Cruz, Texas, for a fly-in, where he urged Kansans to vote “if you're fed up with the stagnation under the Obama economy.”

Late Monday, the national House Democratic campaign arm announced that it was calling 25,000 households to counter the GOP influx. Readers of the liberal Daily Kos donated a total of $149,000 to Thompson over the final weekend.

This - the home town of Koch Industries - is the last place the GOP expected to have to undertake a rescue mission. The Kansas seat is one of the reddest of the five House seats vacated in the Trump era, four of them by Republicans who joined the new administration. If Thompson ends up winning here, the national Democratic Party will claim the victory as a portent of bad things to come for Republicans in the 2018 midterms with Trump in the White House.

Democrats also have an opportunity in Georgia's 6th District, where Jon Ossoff is surging in the race to replace former congressman Tom Price. R, who is now health and human services secretary.

In Kansas, Thompson, a civil rights lawyer who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the 2016 presidential caucuses, flew under the radar for weeks. Meanwhile, Estes, the state treasurer, got bogged down as his party staged an unsuccessful rebellion against deeply unpopular Governor Sam Brownback, R. Estes rarely mentions Trump, but he did reference “fair trade” at the Cruz rally, smoothing over an issue that divides Kansans.

As the race has tightened, Republicans, who are still favoured to win Tuesday, have strained to make the election a referendum on liberalism. Brownback, invisible on the trail, didn't help matters by vetoing a bipartisan Medicaid expansion bill last month; his most favorable polling puts his job-approval rating below 25 percent, even in the 4th District.

In November, as Republicans were scoring upsets around the country, they lost three state House seats in the Wichita area. Several more-conservative Republicans lost primaries to moderate candidates.

“People here still like Trump,” said Thompson, whose campaign signs identify him not as a Democrat but as an Army veteran. “It's not been a referendum on him. It's a referendum on the failed Republican leadership in the state. People don't want these policies taken to the national level.”

In Wichita, where turnout in early voting has been high, Brownback's name has the force of an epithet. As she settled in for lunch at the Anchor, a downtown gastropub where Thompson stopped to shake hands, Kayla Marshall said she didn't vote in the 2016 election. She would, she said, vote for Thompson - and to explain why, she talked about teachers buying pencils with their own money because Brownback had cut the education budget.

Lynn Jones, who opened his door to Thompson canvassers Monday morning, was quick to say he'd voted for George W. Bush. Brownback, he said, was nothing like Bush.

“OK, he was trying something new with his tax cuts, but the experiment didn't work,” Jones said. “When the laboratory explodes, you probably ought to try a different formula.”

Thompson, a first-time candidate, was generally ignored by both parties for most of the race. When his campaign asked the state Democratic Party to fund a mailer, it was turned down, later investing just $3,000. In an interview last week, Democratic National Committee Chairman Thomas Perez said the national party would not be transferring any late money.

“We can make progress in Kansas,” Perez said. “There are thousands of elections every year, though. Can we invest in all of them? That would require a major increase in funds.”

Thompson spoke before Sanders at a February rally and has been endorsed by Sanders' group, Our Revolution. According to recent fundraising reports, Estes has raised $459,000 to Thompson's $292,000. Outside groups, which are pouring money into Georgia ahead of the April 18 contest there, have left Kansas alone.

“The Democrats think so much of their candidate there that they've spent zero dollars,” said Corry Bliss, executive director of the Republican-allied Congressional Leadership Fund. “We'll win the Kansas election by double digits.”

His group is now funding robo-calls targeting local Republicans, who outnumber Democrats but have been sluggish to turn out. The National Republican Congressional Committee has spent close to $100,000, multiplying Estes's presence on the airwaves.

Thompson's campaign reacted with delight to the robo-calls, viewing them as not just ineffective but as sign of his viability.

Because he's getting so little attention - no trackers from the other party were following him Monday - Thompson talked freely with a voter concerned about abortion, agreeing that society should do more to lower abortion rates. He dismissed a last-minute TV ad accusing him of favouring abortions for sex selection as representing his views to a “ludicrous and false extreme.” His final TV spot featured him shooting an AR-15 as a narrator called him a “fighter who grew up in poverty,” but the National Rifle Association was not on the air to contradict him.

What was on the air for Estes was rote - and telling of how Republicans have struggled to find a pro-Trump rallying cry. One of Estes' first commercials featured him in waders, joking that “after eight years of Obama, America is weaker and the swamp is deeper than we thought,” as an alligator poked its head up for emphasis.

Democrats haven't won here since the early 1990s; then-Rep. Dan Glickman, D, was swept out by a Republican wave in 1994. Glickman vastly outspent his opponent, but the Republicans made up for it with a grass-roots surge of antiabortion activists. In 2014, when Bliss helped Sen. Pat Roberts, R, secure victory, he got a similar late-game boost from social conservatives.

Those wins came when Democrats controlled the White House. On Monday, when more than 150 Republican voters piled into the Estes-Cruz rally, some wore anti-Hillary Clinton merchandise; all cheered when Cruz recalled how his “lips curled into a smile” when he saw a Democratic colleague mourn Clinton's defeat.

The cheering was quieter when Cruz and Estes described the stakes of the election. They spoke generally about repealing the Affordable Care Act, though Estes said he opposed the GOP replacement bill that fizzled last month. Cruz talked up tax reform by staging a contrast: “Unlike Obamacare, I'm convinced we can get it done.”

Estes, meanwhile, packaged himself as an agent of common sense and disruption, without mentioning the work he'd done with Brownback. “I'm going to Washington to change Washington,” he said. “When I go to Washington, I want to get to a balanced budget.”

The Republican majority that Estes would join does not have a balanced-budget plan.

In interviews at the rally, Estes' voters said they were thrilled that Neil Gorsuch had been confirmed to the Supreme Court, but they had little else to say about Congress. Asked what he thought of House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., John Bernhardt, who sported an early-voting sticker on a red-white-and-blue polo shirt, answered with a grimace.

“Can I plead the fifth?” he said.

Joyce Wallace, who got a plum position near the rally stage, said she had no qualms about sending a Trump ally to Washington.

“I'm all for Trump,” she said. “I think he's fulfilling his campaign promises.”

Not every Republican at the event agreed. Cathy Dowell, who like Wallace had caucused for Cruz in 2016, worried that Trump went back on a campaign pledge by attacking a Syrian airfield.

“I'm a little worried about Trump,” Dowell said. “I know he's not a conservative, and I think he's making a mistake in Syria.”

But the two Republicans found something to agree on: Both would be happy if Carl Brewer, the Democrat who just finished two terms as mayor of Wichita, replaced Brownback in the governor's office.

The Washington Post


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does Kansas Special Election Signal Trouble for GOP?


By Sean Trende
RCP Staff
April 11, 2017

Does Kansas Special Election Signal Trouble for GOP?

Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, speculation has abounded as to whether his unpopularity could drag down the Republican House majority in 2018. We’ve seen massive protests in liberal enclaves, but we haven’t had a whole lot of evidence as to whether that energy will translate to votes in red areas of the country.

We’ll get our first tests of this theory in a series of special elections to be held over the next few months. These elections are being held in districts that range from light red to deeply red, so a loss here – or even a series of unusually tight races – would be consistent with the narrative that the GOP majority is in trouble.

The first election is being held Tuesday in Kansas’ Wichita-based 4th District. This district is historically Republican, having sent only Republicans to Congress from 1936 through the 1976 elections. That year, a little-known president of the Wichita School Board, Dan Glickman, defeated veteran incumbent Garner Shriver. There were three keys to Glickman’s success: anti-Washington sentiment, Glickman’s moderation, and an upswing in Democratic voting in rural areas of the district in support of Southerner Jimmy Carter.

Glickman charted a moderate course in Washington, and was re-elected with over 60 percent of the vote until 1992, when he faced an unexpectedly strong challenge from a conservative Republican. In 1994, he was upended by novice politician Todd Tiahrt, who capitalized on Glickman’s votes for gun control and his pro-choice stance; Tiahrt’s supporters sang “What a Mighty God We Serve” at his victory party.

Tiahrt served until 2010, when he opted to run for Senate. His seat was won by another political outsider, Mike Pompeo. Pompeo, of course, was tapped by Trump to lead the CIA, setting up an empty seat and special election.

On paper, there isn’t much in this district for Democrats to like. Outside of Sedgwick County (Wichita) lies a sea of largely undifferentiated red; the district avoids even pockets of blue found in places like Hutchinson and Dodge City. Wichita is home to Koch Industries; its employees gave tens of thousands of dollars to support Pompeo. Mitt Romney won the district with 62 percent to 36 percent for President Obama, while Trump won it, 60 percent to 33 percent, over Hillary Clinton.

Yet there are reasons for Democrats to be hopeful that they can at least beat the spread here. First, Wichita itself has real Democratic strength. Although the city’s mayors tend to be Republican, an African-American Democrat held the spot from 2007 to 2015.

Second, there is Donald Trump. Trump won the district by about 14 percentage points more than his national showing in 2016. If we base his job approval off of that – e.g., if we add 14 points to a national job approval of around 40 percent – that would put him at about 54 percent in the district. That’s high enough that the Republican candidate should win, but low enough that Republicans should be nervous.

Third, there is Kansas politics. Kansas has a de facto three-party system, with Democrats squaring off against Republicans in the progressive tradition as well as movement conservatives. The governor, Sam Brownback, is the first movement conservative governor in quite some time. Bill Graves, the previous Republican governor (1995-2003), was pro-choice, while Mike Hayden (who held the office from 1987-91) lost largely after pushing through a tax increase.

Brownback has seen his popularity plummet in the state, so the fact that one of his Cabinet members, Treasury Secretary Ron Estes, is the Republican nominee for Pompeo’s seat is not a great sign. This is compounded by the fact that Estes (at left in photo) has, by all accounts, run a lackluster campaign; his ads have been uninspiring and he’s nearly been matched in fundraising by his opponent, James Thompson (at right). The Democratic nominee is an attorney and political novice, which could be an asset in this political environment.

Of course, we have heard this song-and-dance before. In 2014, many observers and pollsters found that Brownback and Republican Sen. Pat Roberts were in the fights of their lives, only to have Brownback win by four points and Roberts win by 10 (Brownback carried every county in the 4th District). District partisanship has a way of asserting itself at the end. Yet the National Republican Congressional Committee is concerned enough that it has parachuted in, and Vice President Mike Pence has cut a robo-call phone message here. There is more than a little bit of smoke.

As a final thought, if Thompson wins, or even makes it a close race, it would be evidence that the Democratic enthusiasm that we saw in blue areas of the country might be present in other areas too, and that Republicans should start sweating 2018.

At the same time, it would not be proof, and I would urge caution against over-interpreting the results. Special elections in 2004 saw Democrats win deep-red seats such as South Dakota’s At-Large seat and Kentucky’s 6th District, yet the general elections were a disappointment for the party (to say the least). For that matter, if Republicans do well, Democrats shouldn’t panic either; Republicans faced two dispiriting special election losses in New York and one in Pennsylvania before their 2010 landslide wins.

However, if we see Republicans pressed hard in all four of these races (or coasting in them), we start to have enough datapoints to draw better conclusions. In other words, we’ll know a lot more in June.

Sean Trende is senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. He is a co-author of the 2014 Almanac of American Politics and author of The Lost Majority. He can be reached at strende@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @SeanTrende.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kansas special election: Republicans survive scare to hold seat in Congress

State Treasurer Ron Estes will succeed Mike Pompeo after latter joins Trump administration as CIA director after spirited campaign by Democrat James Thompson

Democratic candidate James Thompson concedes defeat after an unexpectedly close contest with Republican Ron Estes Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle/AP

Republicans survived an election scare on Tuesday and won a Kansas House seat in the first congressional election since President Donald Trump's victory, but the margin was much closer than expected in a district that had voted overwhelmingly for Trump in November.

Republican state Treasurer Ron Estes, 60, will represent the Kansas 4th congressional district replacing Mike Pompeo, who Trump named as CIA director.

Trump won 60 percent of the district's vote in November and Pompeo won re-election by 31 points. Estes defeated civil rights lawyer James Thompson by seven percentage points, suggesting some backlash against Republicans since November.

“Republicans nationally should be very worried,” said Bob Beatty, a Washburn University political scientist. “It's remarkable that Thompson got this close.”

The Kansas election was the first of four special elections to fill seats in the House of Representatives — where Republicans now hold a 237-193 majority— to replace Republicans who took top jobs in the Trump administration. Others are in Georgia, Montana and South Carolina.

Both parties will now turn their attention to Georgia and the extremely competitive April 18 contest to replace Tom Price, who resigned to serve as Trump's Health and Human Services secretary.

Democratic hopes rest with Jon Ossoff, 30, a former congressional staffer turned investigative filmmaker who has raised more than $8 million, an extraordinary amount for a special election. Ossoff is counting on opposition to Trump to propel him to a decisive victory.

The Kansas result also reflected blowback against the state's unpopular Republican governor Sam Brownback.

Thompson tapped into voter frustration after Brownback made Kansas a laboratory for sweeping tax cuts that left the state short of revenue and facing a budget crisis. Brownback also refused to expand the Medicaid health programme for the poor.

Lucy Jones-Phillips, a 31-year-old insurance representative and Democrat, acknowledged she doesn't vote in every election, but said she voted for Thompson because she wanted to register her disappointment in Brownback, especially his veto of an expansion of Medicaid.

“I can't stand Brownback,” she said as she left her polling site in Belle Plaine.

In a sign of nervousness in the waning days of the campaign, Republicans poured money into the race to bolster Estes. Republicans pulled in US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas to campaign in Wichita for Estes, and both Vice President Mike Pence and Trump recorded robo calls for him.

Those GOP calls prompted Charlene Health, a 52-year-old homemaker and Republican in Belle Plaine, to cast a ballot for Estes.

“I wasn't even going to vote,” she said as she left her polling site Tuesday morning. “I finally did. I realised this was important.”

Republicans have represented the south-central Kansas district since 1994. The district has been hurt by the downturn in the agricultural economy and the loss of hundreds of well-paying, blue-collar jobs in aircraft manufacturing plants. The 17-county congressional district includes the state's largest city of Wichita, home to Koch Industries, the company led by conservative billionaire political donors Charles and David Koch.

Estes handily won the district's rural counties. But Thompson won in Sedgwick County, which includes Wichita. Trump had carried Sedgwick county by more than 18 percentage points.

Estes said in his victory speech Tuesday night that his campaign showed political pundits and national media that they were wrong in suggesting he could lose the race.

Thompson, 46, a political newcomer backed by a group aligned with Senator Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, said late Tuesday that he will run for the seat again in 2018.

“We came a lot closer than everyone thought we were going to be at the beginning of the race, because from the very beginning people wrote us off as having absolutely no shot,” Thompson's spokesman Chris Pumpelly said.

Libertarian Chris Rockhold trailed a distant third in the race.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( the republican has held the Kansas seat although by a much smaller margin ( 53 % to 45 % ) and with fewer votes cast overall )

Estes wins special election for Kansas' 4th Congressional District

Posted: Tue 3:59 PM, Apr 11, 2017 |

Updated: Wed 5:58 AM, Apr 12, 2017

WICHITA, Kan. It was a close race, but Republican Ron Estes prevails in the special election to represent Kansas' Fourth Congressional District. Estes will replace Mike Pompeo, who in January, was sworn in as the country's new CIA Director.

With 100 percent of Kansas' Fourth District precincts reporting, final results showed Estes defeating Democrat James Thompson by eight percent, 53 to 45. The percentages showed a difference of about 8,500 votes. Libertarian Chris Rockhold received 1,971 votes, which amounted to 2 percent.

In his victory speech in Wichita, Estes says he never had a goal of becoming a Congressman, but saw that what was coming out of Washington, D.C. was not helping Kansans.

"We need to change that. We need to make America work for us," Estes says.

Estes says he will be an advocate for a balanced budget amendment and for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

He says relieving burdens from regulations and tax reform are also needs he plans to address.

"For far too long, Washington hasn't worked for us. And we need to change that," Estes says.

Although he lost, Thompson says the special election shows that no Republican seat is safe and he plans to run for Congress again in 2018.

Many of Thompson's voters thought Sedgwick County would carry him to a victory, but in the end it wasn't enough. The rural counties heavily favored Estes.

Thompson arrived to his watch party a little after the race was called for Estes. The somber mood lifted when he announced his candidacy to run for Congress when the seat comes up for election again.

Asked what he plans to do differently the next time he runs, Thompson said it's all about having more time. Since this was a special election, he said he didn't have as much time as he would have liked to connect with voters.

You can follow how Tuesday's special election progressed through the updates below:

9:43 p.m.

The Associated Press calls the Fourth Congressional District special election for Ron Estes. Estes, Kansas' state treasurer will head to Washington to replace Mike Pompeo in the U.S. House of Representatives.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

House of Representatives

Republican holds on in closely-watched Kansas special House election

By Samuel Chamberlain
·Published April 12, 2017
· FoxNews.com

Kansas 4th District congressional candidate Ron Estes, front left, thanks Sen. Ted Cruz who came to Wichita to campaign for Estes the day before a special election at Yingling Aviation, Monday, April 10, 2017, in Wichita, Kan. (Fernando Salazar/The Wichita Eagle via AP)

Kansas 4th District congressional candidate Ron Estes, front left, thanks Sen. Ted Cruz who came to Wichita to campaign for Estes the day before a special election at Yingling Aviation, Monday, April 10, 2017, in Wichita, Kan. (Fernando Salazar/The Wichita Eagle via AP)

Kansas state Treasurer Ron Estes held off a stronger-than-expected challenge from Democratic civil rights attorney James Thompson Tuesday night as the GOP won the first special congressional election since President Trump's inauguration.

The election was held to fill the House seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a former three-term representative of Kansas' 4th district.

Estes won 53 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Thompson. The Republican's margin of victory was just over 8,000 votes. By contrast, Pompeo won re-election in November by 31 percentage points and 85,000 votes.

In a speech to supporters in Wichita, Thompson vowed that he would run for the seat again in 2018 and argued that the result was evidence that no Republican district is safe.

The race had been closely watched nationally for signs of a backlash against Republicans or waning support from Trump voters in a reliably GOP district. Trump won 60 percent of the votes cast in the 17-county congressional district this past November.

The president himself entered the fray Monday with a recorded get-out-the-vote call on Estes' behalf and tweeted his support on Tuesday morning.

Other nationally known Republicans pitched in over the final days of the race. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas campaigned for Estes Monday in Wichita, while Vice President Mike Pence also recorded a get-out-the-vote call. The National Republican Congressional Committee spent roughly $90,000 in last-minute TV and digital ads.

Thompson reckoned that the high-profile support for Estes helped push him over the top, and claimed he could have won had national Democrats rallied to him sooner. Readers of the liberal blog Daily Kos donated more than $200,000 to Thompson in the final days of the race. Thompson was also backed by Our Revolution, the group that grew out of Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign.

"You fight," Thompson said when asked what the results should show Democrats. "You play every game."

All those GOP calls prompted Charlene Health, a 52-year-old homemaker and Republican in Belle Plaine, to cast a ballot for Estes.

"I wasn't even going to vote," she said as she left her polling site Tuesday morning. "I finally did. I realized this was important."

Alan Branum, 64, a retired construction worker is a Wichita Democrat who voted for Estes and plans to change his party affiliation to Republican since he leans more conservative. He thinks Trump has been been doing fine so far.

"I don't think it is fair people condemn him," he said of the president. "He hasn't been in long enough to make a judgment. People need to give him some time."

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.

Lucy Jones-Phillips, a 31-year-old insurance representative and Democrat, acknowledged she doesn't vote in every election, but said she voted for Thompson because she wanted to ensure supporters of Gov. Sam Brownback are not in office. She was especially upset when the Republican governor recently vetoed Medicaid expansion.

"I can't stand Brownback," she said as she left her polling site in Belle Plaine.

Thompson tried to tap into voter frustration with Brownback throughout the campaign, tying the state treasurer to the unpopular Republican governor. Thompson has called the Kansas congressional election more of a referendum on Brownback than on Trump.

But Thomas Hauser, 67, of Belle Plaine, a Republican who works in the information technology industry, said he crossed party lines in Tuesday's election to vote for Thompson. He also didn't vote for Trump in the last year's general election. Thompson appealed to Hauser in part because both men are ex-military but also because "I don't believe in the (GOP) line."

Republicans have represented the south-central Kansas district since 1994. The district has been hard hit by the downturn in the agricultural economy and the loss of hundreds of well-paying, blue-collar jobs in aircraft manufacturing plants.

With Estes' victory, Republicans are now defending three GOP-leaning seats in upcoming special elections in Georgia, Montana and South Carolina. Democrats are protecting a seat in a liberal California district.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For all this discussion about a smaller margin;
The GOP still won with an 8% margin, granted its not the 30% they won it by in 2016 but at the same time with all the money spent in the riding and the motivation you would think Democrats would have they could have taken it?

The turnout was less than half of 2016 (275k votes Vs. 114k votes) and the Democrats came out in force (53k votes last night vs 81k in 2016) and still lost.

The last time the Democrats held the house they had half the seats in Kansas, granted they didn't hold the 4th but they held an equally red 2nd.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My suspicion is that Trump's approvals will skyrocket if his moves in Syria and North Korea are actually perceived as making the world a safer place.

If that happens, the Democrats attempts to thwart him will lose a lot of public support.

I know, for you, commitment to the party is a vitally important thing in a leader, but sometimes things get so bad inside the bubble that an outsider can accomplish a lot.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmostein wrote:
For all this discussion about a smaller margin;
The GOP still won with an 8% margin, granted its not the 30% they won it by in 2016 but at the same time with all the money spent in the riding and the motivation you would think Democrats would have they could have taken it?

The turnout was less than half of 2016 (275k votes Vs. 114k votes) and the Democrats came out in force (53k votes last night vs 81k in 2016) and still lost.

The last time the Democrats held the house they had half the seats in Kansas, granted they didn't hold the 4th but they held an equally red 2nd.

the Kansas special election results do look a lot similar to what we saw in Canada in Brandon Souris . where we saw a liberal surge due to cpc nomination issues and a stronger than expected liberal candidate . flamed by biased local media coverage and a surge in support in urban polls in the riding . even though conservative support still strong in rural areas .

the only reason the democrats did well here as there was urban polls in the city of Wichita and there voters seemed to show up even though it was only a special election . ( the Kansas republican governor also seems to be unpopular for some reason and choosing a candidate closely associated to him seems to partly be why he struggled to do as well as past republican )

but either way its still a sign the house may become more competitive in 2018 if the democrats base remains motivated and seemingly upset trump is in power

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trump rallies Georgia Republicans ahead of special election

The Associated Press April 18, 2017 05:52 AM WASHINGTON —

President Donald Trump is rallying voters in Georgia's 6th Congressional District to "get out and vote" Republican ahead of Tuesday's special election.In a tweet early Tuesday, Trump urged voters not to vote for Democrat Jon Ossoff for the House seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Trump says, "Democrat Jon Ossoff would be a disaster in Congress. VERY weak on crime and illegal immigration, bad for jobs and wants higher taxes. Say NO."In a second tweet, he wrote, "Republicans must get out today and VOTE in Georgia 6. Force runoff and easy win!

Dem Ossoff will raise your taxes-very bad on crime & 2nd A."Democrats opposed to Trump have rallied behind Ossoff, who has raised a significant amount of money for a special election. -

See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/t.....6TdUf.dpuf

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What to watch in Tuesday’s special election in Georgia

Greg Bluestein

UpdatedApril 18, 2017

Filed in Bob Gray, Dan Moody, Donald Trump, Elections - Congress, Jon Ossoff, Judson Hill, Karen Handel, Tom Price.

The nationally-watched election to represent a suburban Atlanta district kicks off on Tuesday in Georgia, and what was once seen as a sleepy all-Republican affair has turned into a decidedly closer contest.

Democrat Jon Ossoff has emerged as the unquestioned leader in the 18-candidate field, and he’s aiming for a majority vote to avoid a June 20 runoff. But Republicans – there are 11 in the race – are increasingly confident they can hold him below the 50-percent mark.

It is one of the first congressional votes since Trump’s victory, and a Republican defeat would widely be seen as a rebuke to his administration.

VIDEO: Where is Tom Price’s former congressional district?

Tom Price’s congressional seat is vacant since he accepted a position in the Trump administration.

Here’s a look at a few factors that could decide the vote:

Turnout: As pollsters and pundits tracking the race are quick to say, anyone who says he can predict its turnout is probably bluffing. Nearly 55,000 voters have already cast ballots, and the national attention, the Trump factor and the enthusiasm around Ossoff’s campaign could lead to a dramatic uptick in Election Day voting.

Democrat Jon Ossoff with a supporter. AJC/Bob Andres.

That works both ways: Analysts studying early-voting patterns say a tremendous amount of Republican-leaning voters have yet to cast ballots, and GOP campaigns say the overwhelming majority of the voters they’ve contacted indicate they’re waiting until Tuesday to vote.

Pollster Mark Rountree of Landmark Communications said his research found that there are 77,000 voters in the district who cast ballots in the past two GOP primaries. On the Democratic side, that number is just 17,000.

“It tells you that Republicans have a huge potential upswing,” he said. “But so far Democrats are battling hard to get their votes out and are having reasonable success.”

Changing the electorate: Ossoff’s staggering fundraising haul has allowed his campaign to target beyond a smaller base of traditional Democratic voters — an essential task if he aims to win long-held GOP turf. Democrats who rarely vote in primaries or special elections are getting personalized flyers; some are receiving multiple mailers a day.


He’s also seeking votes from two segments of the electorate who might be more peeved by Trump: college-educated women — a powerful bloc in the affluent district — and millennials. Tepid support from women in the 6th District in November helped drag down Trump’s numbers. And polls show Ossoff is winning younger voters by wide margins, although they are also typically the least reliable voters in special elections.

Pay close attention to how the overall Democratic field performs. Even if Ossoff falls short of an outright victory, Democrats will declare a win if he and the other four candidates combined can top 50 percent. But if they lag behind Hillary Clinton’s performance in the district – she notched about 46 percent – Republicans will paint him as another in a line of Democrats who can’t get it done at the ballot box.

The Trump factor: A handful of Republican candidates have hinged their campaigns almost entirely on their support for the president. Bob Gray, a former Johns Creek councilman, vows to be a “willing partner” of the president, and Dan Moody, a one-time state senator, said he will fight for Trump’s agenda.

Trump’s late tweets could boost Republican turnout — and aggravate Democrats looking for a late edge. Trump won the district with 48 percent of the vote, and the Republicans running as his loyalists hope to land a runoff spot by locking up much of that bloc. And polls show despite his struggles in the district in November, a majority of GOP voters give the president sound approval ratings.

A county-by-county fight: The district encompasses only a chunk of north DeKalb County, but it’s also the bluest part of the territory. Ossoff is hoping to run up the score in this part of the district, so long as he can consolidate votes from the other four Democrats in the race. Another boon for his campaign: Much of that area had limited access to early-voting sites, which could lead to a spike in turnout for him Tuesday.

North Fulton County is home to some of the district’s most conservative turf, but it’s also the headquarters of three top contenders feuding for the same slice of the electorate. Gray, Karen Handel and Moody all live within a few miles of each other — and all are warring with each other. Turnout could be slightly higher there, too, thanks to city elections for city council members in Johns Creek and Roswell.

East Cobb County had long been the political power center of the district until Price’s 2004 victory. Some Cobb Republicans are eager to reclaim the seat and have lined up behind Hill, the only top contender from the county in the race. Although he’s struggling in the polls, strong support from Cobb could help him emerge from the pack. And turnout could also get a boost from an eight-candidate race to replace Hill in the state Senate.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This may not be the indicator that the Democrats mean to package it as. The fabulous fund-raising has come from Democrats all over the country, and is an explicitly anti-Trump contribution. That doesn't mean the people in the district have the same intense hatred as the die-hards do.

The Democrats -- at least part of them -- want to impeach Trump, and will go to any lengths to do so. It's hard to imagine the intestinal distaste manifested by those who imagine themselves as knowing the one correct path for the American state. They agree with Hillary when she calls them a "basket of deplorables". It's not like that in Canada.

For these people, getting headlines in newspapers and creating the right journalistic memes is prepatory to their moves. But Trump is poking holes a mile wide in Obama's foreign policy. So far, it's working.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New details emerge in theft of Ga. voting machines

By Christopher Wallace
·Published April 18, 2017
· FoxNews.com

Key electronic voter logs used in the Georgia special election to fill a vacant Congressional seat were swiped from the pickup truck of a poll worker during a grocery run, according to a police report obtained by Fox News.

The theft of early voting check-in books has raised the specter of fraud in the hotly contested race to fill the state's sixth district seat left open when Tom Price was named Health and Human Services secretary. Tuesday is election day, but thousands of voters took part in early voting.

Democrats are pouring resources to back 30-year-old Jon Ossoff's bid to flip a formerly solid red zone in what could be a symbolic blow to President Donald Trump. Ossoff has emerged as the frontrunner in a crowded field, but needs to top 50 percent to avoid a runoff on June 20.

“The theft could just be a random thing, but the timing makes it much more worrisome."

- Jason Shepherd, chairman of the Cobb County GOP

The books that were stolen on April 15, the day after early voting ended in Cobb County, were so-called 'E poll' books used by elections officials to check-in voters at the polls. The books, which resemble computer tablets, store information ofn voters, maps, and polling site reports. They have signature pads that enable poll workers to compare new signatures with those on record.

Ossoff is the favorite to win the primary, but needs to top 50 percent to avoid a runoff. (Associated Press)

The Cobb County Police Department, which is heading up the investigation, provided the police report to Fox News in response to a Georgia Open Records request. Poll manager, Craig Joe Rogers, 60 of Marietta, told police he parked his Ford F-250 Super Duty near the front of a Kroger supermarket in Marietta.

Rogers bought groceries and returned to his car to find thousands of dollars' worth of elections equipment missing. There were no signs of forced entry, and Rogers admitted he may have left the doors unlocked.

A responding Cobb County police officer viewed surveillance video from the supermarket and stated in the report, “A dark gray colored Dodge Charger or Chrysler 300 drove through the lanes in the parking lot. It appears that someone gets out of the Charger/Chrysler vehicle and goes into the victim’s vehicle. The suspect then gets into his vehicle and leaves the scene.”

The election is to fill the seat vacated by Tom Price, who was named the Trump administration's secretary of Health and Human Services. (Associated Press)

The police report notes there was another auto break-in down the street at the Marietta fish market around the same time.

“We have opened an investigation, and we are taking steps to ensure that it has no effect on the election," said Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. "I am confident that the results will not be compromised.”

“It is unfortunate timing,” agreed Michael Owens, chairman of the Cobb County Democrats. “But I do not believe this is targeted. I don’t believe it will have any impact on the election results. Was someone literally tracking poll managers? I highly doubt it.”

Kemp’s office has been critical of the Cobb County officials for not informing the Secretary of State until two days after the incident.

“It is ridiculous that they waited to notify our office,” said Kemp’s press secretary, Candice Broce. “We should have been one of the first calls that they made after the theft occurred. We are always accessible to county elections officials, even on the weekends.”

Meanwhile, Pam Burel, of the Cobb County County Elections Department, told Fox News the agency has “taken all necessary steps to insure that the equipment cannot be used to impact this election.”

But others directly involved in the bitterly contested "jungle primary" between Osoff and 17 other candidates, say the theft of the polling equipment, happened at a very suspicious moment.

“This election has gotten very contentious,” said Jason Shepherd, chairman of the Cobb County GOP. “The Democrats have sent in busloads of activists from Washington, Connecticut, and Michigan.”

While Shepherd says he’s waiting for the police investigation to conclude before reaching any conclusions, he told Fox News the circumstances raised red flags.

“The theft could just be a random thing, but the timing makes it much more worrisome," he said. "I think there is cause to be concerned about the integrity of the elections. Did they look in the back of that truck and saw what they knew to be voting machines, and thought they could get something to affect the election? That’s a concern.”

According to the police report there were four Expresspoll E poll books stolen, each valued at $2,000. Cobb County Elections Department Director Janine Eveler said the E poll books had flash cards with voter lists on them. “They have the whole county on there,” said Lawrence Norden, of the NYU Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, “If you wanted to target people based on their party affiliation, there’s potential that it could be used for getting out the vote.”

An E Poll book in the wrong hands could wreak havoc, according to Norden, “It is very dangerous, where these machines don’t have the right security. They could be tampered with and manipulated so that if people show up on election day, you can make it seem like somebody already voted, or you could create something where the E Poll book can’t communicate with the central database creating long lines.”

Still, Norden and other experts say that there is very little risk of such scenarios, since the authorities say they have taken the necessary precautions, and also that much of the information contained on the E poll books is already available to campaigns and the public.

“It’s not clear that whoever stole the machines knew what the machines were,” said Dana Chisnell, of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, “They may have just thought they were computers or something else of value.”

But authorities are taking no chances.

“We are asking poll workers to be vigilant today, and we are calling on members of the public to report any and all irregularities at the polls,” said Broce


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

House of Representatives

What you need to know: Georgia special election

Brooke Singman

By Brooke Singman
·Published April 18, 2017
· FoxNews.com

What you need to know: Georgia 6th

All eyes are on Georgia's 6th District Tuesday as Democrats look for an upset in a historically Republican seat -- in an effort to make an anti-Trump statement, and one of the first pushes to reclaim the House majority in 2018.

The special election for the seat in Georgia’s 6th was vacated when President Trump named then-Rep. Tom Price as his Health and Human Services secretary. The race is drawing significant attention across the nation -- the #Flipthe6th hashtag is even trending on social media.

Here’s what you need to know:

Candidate Field:

There are 18 candidates vying for Price’s vacant seat.

· 11 Republicans—There are several strong GOP candidates like former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, former Johns Creek city councilman Bob Gray, and former state senators Judson Hill and Dan Moody, among others. Handel seems to be the favorite among GOP voters with Moody trailing ever-so-slightly behind, after receiving an endorsement from Sen. David Perdue.

· 5 Democrats—For the Democrats, it seems there is only one likely candidate, and that’s 30-year-old Jon Ossoff, a former congressional staffer who has drawn a buzz to his millennial candidacy, and has a strong backing from Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.

· 2 Independents

Jungle Primary:

· A primary election of this kind is also known as a “jungle primary,” meaning that all candidates run in the same primary, regardless of their political party or affiliation.

· The winner must get more than 50 percent of the vote.

· Georgia law states that if no one receives a majority of the vote in the April 18 all-party primary, the top two finishers, regardless of their party, will advance to a June 20 runoff.

Georgia 6th History:

· The district is historically Republican – Price never won less than 60 percent of the vote in his seven general election victories.

· The highly sought-after seat was once held by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

· Mitt Romney carried the district by 23 points in 2012, but Trump only held it by a point and a half in 2016.

· The last Democrat to represent the 6th District was John J. Flynt Jr., who held the seat from 1965-1979.

· According to the Census Bureau, the 6th District is almost 70 percent white, and wealthy, with a median household income of $83,800.


· The race in the 6th District has drawn more cash from across the nation than usual.

· Ossoff’s campaign has attracted its share of star-power donors including Chelsea Handler, singer-songwriter Judy Collins, actor Connie Britton of “Nashville” and actor John Leguizamo.

· As of March 29, Ossoff had raised $8.3 million and spent $6.1 million—more than double the highest amount spent by Price in any of his elections there.

· 95 percent of Ossoff’s donors came from outside Georgia, with reports of more than $500,000 from California, $400,000 from New York, and more than $100,000 from Massachusetts.

· Samuel L. Jackson came out in support of the Democrats with a radio ad. Jackson's ad doesn't name Ossoff, but it is aimed to send a message to Trump: “Remember what happened the last time people stayed home: we got stuck with Trump,” he says.

· National Republican groups have dumped almost $4 million into the race to try to defeat Ossoff.

Fox News' Bryan Murphy and Amy Leedecke contributed to this report


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Democrat John Ossoff has won the special election but only got 48 % and under weird Georgia law , that means they'll be a second vote between him and republican Karen Handel who came in second with only 19 % , a bunch of other republicans split the rest of the vote

so it looks like the vote in June could be extremely close but Ossoff appears to have much stronger support than Handel who appears to be based in the northern more republican part of the district , if she can get all the republican vote out to support her she has a chance but it be difficult


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( a high profile republican from Utah isn't going to run again , although Utah is so republican it be difficult to envision the democrats picking up this seat )


Chaffetz announces he will not seek re-election

Published April 19, 2017
· FoxNews.com

FILE: Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the outspoken Utah Republican and influential chairman of the House oversight committee, announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election in 2018.

The conservative lawmaker, who’s been in Congress since 2009, confirmed the decision on Facebook.

“After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018,” he wrote.

Chaffetz, a longtime fixture in Utah politics, has hinted before at potentially running for governor in 2020, and his announcement could be the first step toward that goal. He also has faced an early Democratic challenge for the House seat.

In his statement Wednesday, Chaffetz left open the door to another run, but said for now he's going into the private sector.

“After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time. I may run again for public office, but not in 2018,” he said, adding: “For those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that I have no ulterior motives. I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins. I have the full support of Speaker Ryan to continue as Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That said, I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector.”

He told Fox News on Wednesday he will not run for Senate.

Chaffetz arrived in Congress nearly a decade ago under rather testy circumstances, defeating GOP Rep. Chris Cannon in a 2008 primary runoff. Cannon refused to meet with Chaffetz after that.

Chaffetz was more recently a leading figure in Congress’ investigations into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email and server as secretary of state. He hounded the Secret Service over multiple security incidents and scandals during the Obama administration; amid those tensions, the agency even apologized to him after officials wrongly accessed personal information about him. He was a frequent critic of government waste, and showed no hesitation about lambasting alleged culprits who appeared before his committee.

In his role this year, he's also had to navigate how to address ethical complaints about the current Trump administration. And he faced an emerging challenge in 2018 from Democrat Dr. Kathryn Allen, who has been on a fundraising spree after seizing on controversial comments he made suggesting low-income people should prioritize health care over buying iPhones.

Like many of his colleagues, Chaffetz recently encountered a raucous town hall in his home state. Chaffetz said he's announcing his decision now "to give prospective candidates time to lay the groundwork for a successful run."

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