Texas Senator Ted Cruz Campaigns For Ron Estes Day Before Kansas Special Election

Apr 10, 2017

Conservative Texas Sen. Ted Cruz made a stop in Wichita to campaign for Republican Ron Estes in Kansas' special congressional election.

Attendees at Monday's rally for Republican congressional candidate Ron Estes.
Credit Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Around 200 people gathered at Yingling Aviation for a rally before Tuesday's election. Estes is running against Democrat James Thompson and Libertarian Chris Rockhold for the 4th District House seat vacated by Mike Pompeo, who resigned to head the CIA.

Cruz joined Estes for a press conference before the rally, where he urged Republicans to vote for the state treasurer in what has become a competitive race.

"My being here is indicative that this race matters," Cruz said. "This race matters, and it matters nationally. The eyes of the country are upon it and this is the first significant election since the November election."

The race has gained other national attention and assistance besides Cruz's visit: The National Republican Congressional Committee recently spent nearly $100,000 on ads targeting James Thompson.

Thompson's campaign spokesman, Chris Pumpelly, said his candidate spent the last day before the election speaking with voters around Wichita.

"[The national party] has thus far not been involved, but that's perfectly fine, because we're seeing wave upon wave of support here in Kansas," Pumpelly said.

The Cook Political Report on Monday shifted its rating of the special election from Likely Republican to Leaning Republican, noting that "Republicans are expressing alarm that Democrat James Thompson is within striking distance of carrying a seat President Trump won by 27 points last November." Pompeo won his re-election bid in November with 61 percent of the vote; the district hasn't had a Democratic representative since 1994.

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