President Donald Trump threw his weight behind a Republican candidate in a special congressional election in Wichita, Kansas, a continued sign of the GOP’s last-minute surge to secure a House seat left open by former Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo.
“Ron Estes is running TODAY for Congress in the Great State of Kansas,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “A wonderful guy, I need his help on Healthcare & Tax Cuts (Reform).”
The tweet is the second such action from Trump to support the Republican candidate in a special election that Estes is expected to win. Trump recorded a robocall over the weekend saying that Estes “needs your vote and needs it badly,” The Associated Press reported Monday. That call has gone out to tens of thousands of possible voters, according to the Kansas Republican Party.
Trump won the district by almost 30 percentage points in November.
The GOP in recent weeks has injected thousands of dollars into the special election in support of Estes, the former vice chair of the Kansas Republican Party and state treasurer. The flurry of last-minute campaigning and spending is a sign that party leadership may be concerned about winning a district that has gone to Republicans for more than two decades. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also campaigned for Estes, and the national Republican Congressional Committee made a $100,000 ad buy; Vice President Mike Pence has also recorded a robocall to urge prospective voters to choose Estes.
The Democratic candidate, Army veteran and civil rights attorney James Thompson, is also receiving last-minute support from the Democratic Party as anti-Trump enthusiasm in the district has bolstered his slim chances of flipping the district. Thompson has raised most of the funding for his campaign from individual donations and support from progressive grassroots organizations.