With their nomination parties over, Raj Goyle and Mike Pompeo started running against each other Wednesday in the 4th Congressional District.
Goyle spent the day after winning the Democratic nomination thanking volunteers and donors for their support. His campaign launched the first TV ad of the general election season, touting his opposition to the Rev. Fred Phelps picketing at military funerals.
Pompeo also spent much of the day making calls. He also made his first post-election public appearance at a unity rally in Topeka, featuring the four Republican congressional candidates who won their Kansas primaries.
Call it the calm before the storm, said Ken Ciboski, a Republican and professor of political science at Wichita State University.
"I think we're going to see a lot of money spent, a lot of ads," Ciboski predicted. "I think Goyle is going to run on his good record in the Kansas Legislature. I think Pompeo might attack that and say he's a liberal in disguise."
He said he's expecting "a pretty nasty campaign," although he added that Pompeo supporters "can't use the RINO (Republican in name only) stuff they did with Schodorf" — Sen. Jean Schodorf, the second-place finisher in the Republican primary.
Facing only light primary opposition, Goyle, a state representative from Wichita, has worked to position himself toward the middle of the political spectrum. He's reaching out to moderate Republican voters who supported Schodorf.
After complimenting her in his acceptance speech Tuesday night, he continued that thread in an e-mail to supporters in which he said Pompeo was "exactly who we wanted" as an opponent.
The e-mail said Schodorf was "too close to me personally and ideologically."
Pompeo, the e-mail continued, "has spent more than one million dollars in his summer of negativity to make it clear that he's no moderate."
In an interview, Goyle said Pompeo is basically "telling every moderate voter in the 4th District they're not welcome in his campaign."
"Based on what we've seen, nothing's off limits when it comes to the mudslinging I've seen from the other side," he added.
Pompeo, a Republican national committeeman, said Goyle's assertion of negativity in the GOP campaign is in itself negative.
"Within 24 hours of his nomination, he's begun an incredibly negative attack on me that is not factual," Pompeo said. "The Pompeo campaign will continue, as it has been, running a positive, issue-oriented campaign."
He said his campaign will continue to sound the same themes it has for the past 16 months — primarily, reducing government spending and easing regulation on business.
Pompeo is seeking to force Goyle to defend the policies of national Democratic leaders.
He's counting on what he says is a huge group of voters who are "deeply, deeply standing in opposition to President Obama, Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi and their job-destroying politics."
He observed that far fewer Democrats than Republicans turned out for Tuesday's primary.
Goyle, he said, "got the fourth most votes in the 4th District of Kansas last night."
Ciboski said that he thinks the biggest factor driving the unexpectedly large GOP turnout was the hard-fought Senate race between two popular congressmen, Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, and Jerry Moran, R-Hays.
"I don't think there's any question the Senate race brought a lot of people to the polls," Ciboski said, adding that he thinks Pompeo benefited most from the extra Tiahrt voters in the 4th District.