Republican Mike Pompeo vanquished Democrat Raj Goyle to win the 4th District congressional seat, declaring victory to a roaring crowd of more than 700 supporters Tuesday night.
He said that the nation is broken and that the government can’t continue to spend the next generation’s money.
“Tomorrow we’ll wake up and we’ll have the possibility of a real change in our nation,” said Pompeo, a Republican national committeeman. But he said it’s only a possibility and that citizens need to hold their leaders accountable and remain engaged.
“It is not the Republicans of old who have been elected,” he said.
Goyle said he tried to call Pompeo but couldn’t reach him and left a message congratulating him on the victory.
He thanked his supporters for their hard work and told them that no pundit or analyst would have predicted they could make as competitive a race as they did.
“In a different year, when the winds weren’t blowing so strong against us, we might have been smiling tonight,” Goyle said. “I’m sorry. I apologize I didn’t get you over the top.”
Pompeo’s message of smaller government resonated with Harold Roesler, who said he’s never been involved in a campaign before.
Roesler said Ronald Reagan talked about “starving the beast” and that Republican control of the U.S. House will give them a chance to set priorities in the federal budget.
“We’re celebrating now,” he said. “But this is serious business.”
People came to Goyle’s party ready to party, but the evening’s results gave them little to cheer about.
But cheer they did, if in a last-hurrah sort of way.
“The numbers are what they are,” Goyle’s brother Sanj told the crowd. But for the benefit of the television cameras, he led a loud cheer of “One, two, three, Go Raj!”
Both campaigns pushed to the finish line to get their voters to the polls Tuesday.
Kenneth Tingle of Goddard said he voted for Pompeo. “Pompeo has a business,” he said. “The economy needs help, and hopefully he can do something.”
Goyle had his supporters, too.
“I picked Raj Goyle because he’s got nothing to lose in my book,” said Bill Salamonski of Goddard. “He doesn’t really care if it’s Republican or Democrat.”
Since the start, the hard-fought race has been marred by complaints of negative campaigning.
In the Republican primary, businessman Wink Hartman accused Pompeo of shipping American jobs to Mexico while he ran an aerospace company, and Pompeo criticized Hartman for taking a residents-only homestead tax break on a mansion he owns in Florida.
Goyle easily disposed of retired court services officer Robert Tillman in the Democratic primary and entered the general election with a large fundraising lead.
Pompeo was able to replenish his treasury and ultimately wound up outraising Goyle, $2æmillion to $1.7æmillion.
The general election campaign matched Pompeo’s business support against Goyle’s support from union aircraft workers.
The two had widely varied views on the economy, with Goyle advocating for public/private partnerships to protect Wichita’s recession-battered aircraft industry, and Pompeo arguing that cutting taxes and relaxing regulation on business would create the most jobs.