By the end of Saturday, we’ll know who the three political parties have selected as their candidates for the special election to replace former Rep. Mike Pompeo.
Republicans picked their candidate Thursday night, current State Treasurer and former Sedgwick County Treasurer Ron Estes. Democrats and Libertarians will pick their contenders at Saturday conventions.
By Friday, the parties were previewing their campaigns for the April 11 election to replace Pompeo, who resigned last month to serve as CIA director in the Trump administration.
“Ron Estes is the strong conservative Kansans need aggressively fighting for their values in Washington,” National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers said in a statement. “We need his voice in Congress helping us work toward dismantling Obamacare, reforming the tax code, and repairing a broken VA system.”
Democrats made it pretty clear they intend to tie Estes to Gov. Sam Brownback and President Trump every chance they get.
“Ron Estes is a strong ally to the least popular governor in the entire United States,” Kansas Democratic Party Executive Director Kerry Gooch said in his statement. “He said he was proud to have been able to cast his electoral college vote for Donald Trump. Estes will be nothing more than a rubber stamp for a president whose administration is spiraling into controversy and chaos.”
In the Saturday nominating conventions, Democrats will go first, meeting at 1 p.m. in the jury room at the Sedgwick County Courthouse. The Libertarians will gather at 2:30 p.m. at the Alford Branch Library in south Wichita.
It is unlikely there will be an independent candidate on the ballot. They would have to collect 3,000 voters’ signatures in 25 days, and several potential candidates have said they see that as a near-impossible task.
It took two rounds of balloting for the Republicans to settle on Estes in their nominating convention.
The first ballot, he got 58 of 126 votes from the Republican 4th District committee, six shy of the 64 he needed to win the nomination. The second round, he got 66 for the win.
At Thursday’s convention, Estes portrayed himself as the most electable candidate, citing the 2010 state treasurer race in which he beat the incumbent Dennis McKinney – a potential Democratic candidate for the congressional seat.
And he said he worked hard to make Sedgwick County and Kansas state government more responsive and efficient.
“I like to solve problems, not create them,” he said. “Unfortunately, government doesn’t always work that way.”