James Thompson

Hugo Phan / KMUW

Local and national media watched as returns came in during Tuesday night's election. A surprise strong showing for the Democratic candidate may signify a slight shift in a traditionally Republican state.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

Voters in Kansas’ 4th Congressional District head to the polls next week to pick their new representative. Mike Pompeo resigned from Congress in January when he became CIA director.

The three candidates in the special election were chosen at their respective party nominating conventions in February.

The Democratic Party has chosen James Thompson as their candidate. The Wichita civil rights lawyer beat out four other hopefuls for the nomination.

Political committees and groups have heavily bolstered Republican Ron Estes' campaign coffers for a congressional seat the GOP has held for two decades in south-central Kansas, while Democrat James Thompson has raised more in grass-roots contributions, campaign finance filings show.

The race for the House seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo is the nation's first congressional election since President Donald Trump's victory. The special election is April 11.

Three candidates vying to become the next member of the U.S. House of Representatives in Kansas’ 4th Congressional District took part in a forum at KWCH-TV in Wichita Tuesday night.

The 30-minute forum was the first time all three candidates participated together. Republican Ron Estes, Libertarian Chris Rockhold and Democrat James Thompson answered questions on such topics as health care, terrorism, immigration and the federal budget.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

A forum was held Sunday at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita between two of the three candidates looking to fill the seat former congressman and current CIA director Mike Pompeo vacated in Kansas' 4th District.

Democrat James Thompson and Libertarian Chris Rockhold participated. Republican Ron Estes, although he had confirmed to take part, was absent due to a conflict.

The candidates commented on the budget, school funding, race issues and the Affordable Care Act.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Candidates for the Kansas 4th Congressional District race met with constituents Saturday during the first public event of the campaign.

Republican candidate Ron Estes was not there, but Libertarian Chris Rockhold, a flight simulation instructor, and Democrat James Thompson, a civil rights attorney, agreed on a number of issues, such as immigration reform and veterans issues.

But the two candidates diverged on the issue of school choice, something the new U.S. education secretary Betsy DeVos has championed.

Rockhold said he’s in favor of a market solution.

Candidates for the 4th Congressional District will participate in a Q&A event Saturday hosted by Sunflower Community Action.

The organization says all three candidates have been invited; so far Democratic candidate, James Thompson and Libertarian Chris Rockhold have confirmed. Republican Ron Estes has not. The event starts at 11:30 at Sunflower Community Action, 1751 N. Ash.

Next Thursday, March 16, the League of Women Voters Wichita Metro Chapter and Women for Kansas are partnering to host a forum at Friends University with candidates and a panel.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

The Sedgwick County Election Office is getting ready for the 4th Congressional District special election.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

James Thompson, the Democratic nominee in the 4th District congressional race, is making constitutional rights one of his campaign issues. He held his first news conference on Monday.

Thompson is a civil rights attorney in Wichita, and this is his first run for public office.

He says he’s a staunch defender of the Bill of Rights.

Thompson says the constitution needs to be the cornerstone of every government decision.

Frank Morris / KCUR

In deep-red Kansas, state Democrats threw their most energized annual meeting in years in Topeka on Saturday, largely thanks to the featured speaker: Vermont senator and former presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders.