Kansas stood as an island of calm on a fast-moving election map Tuesday night, from the presidential race to a U.S. Senate contest and all four of the state’s congressional districts.
Republican Donald Trump led Democrat Hillary Clinton in early returns. The New York businessman carried Kansas, which hasn’t voted for a Democrat for president since 1964.
Republican U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran defeated Lawrence attorney Patrick Wiesner, leading by a margin of 61 percent to 34 percent in early unofficial returns from the Kansas Secretary of State’s office. Moran was heavily favored to win a second Senate term, if nothing else, by history: Kansas has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1932.
U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, appeared poised to keep his congressional seat.
By 11 p.m. Pompeo, R-Wichita, had 59 percent of the vote to Democrat Dan Giroux’s 31 percent.
Giroux, a Wichita attorney; independent Miranda Allen, a Kiowa businesswoman; and Libertarian Gordon Bakken, a retired aerospace engineer from Wichita; trailed.
“I’m hoping to have a Republican president to work with, and from the numbers now it looks like there’s a chance,” Pompeo said about 9:30 Tuesday night.
“My mission is the same: to create conditions for economic growth and to create the climate where it can grow; and that means deregulation, lower taxes instead of taking more of your money. We may now get a chance to do that.
“There are important national security things to take care of, too,” he added. “Our soldiers and sailors need our help, to keep them in a position where they can keep us safe.”
Pompeo, who was first elected to the U.S. House in 2012, has been an outspoken critic of the Affordable Care Act and the Clean Power Plan. He also served on the House panel that investigated Hillary Clinton’s handling of the 2012 Benghazi attack as U.S. Secretary of State.
Giroux, a former prosecutor, ran on a platform of support for balanced budgets and a willingness to work across the aisle. Giroux ran afoul of some Democrats because he opposes abortion.
A doctor who ousted U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp in the Republican primary has now won the seat representing Kansas’ 1st Congressional District, spanning much of central and western Kansas.
Great Bend obstetrician Roger Marshall defeated Clifton farmer and educator Alan LaPolice, who was running as an independent. There was no Democratic candidate in the race in the heavily Republican district.
Marshall made national headlines in the August primary when he ousted Huelskamp, a tea party favorite who was a persistent annoyance to GOP leaders. Huelskamp lost his seat on the House Agriculture Committee in 2012.
Marshall received primary race endorsements from the Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Livestock Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Moran coasted to a second term in the U.S. Senate.
The Associated Press called the race for Moran a little after 8 p.m. Central time.
Moran’s Democratic challenger, Lawrence attorney Patrick Wiesner, never posed much of a threat. He raised only $35,000 compared with Moran’s $6.6 million and struggled to top 30 percent in pre-election polls.
No matter which party controls the Senate in January, Moran, 62, will return to Capitol Hill as a second-term lawmaker with more seniority. If his past chairmanship of the National Republican Senatorial Committee is any indication, Moran may seek a more prominent role in his party’s leadership.
Speaking to a group of reporters in Overland Park, Moran acknowledged voters’ frustration with Congress and other institutions they’ve grown to distrust.
“I think there’s just a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction with the way things are in Washington, D.C.,” Moran said. “And I think they want to make certain that you’re something different than what the problem is in Washington, D.C.”
Two years ago, Moran played an instrumental role in wresting control of the U.S. Senate from Democrats. Chosen by his peers to be chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2012, he helped recruit and raise funds for GOP Senate candidates running in the 2014 midterm elections.
Taking on the high-profile, high-pressure position at the head of the GOP’s campaign arm in the Senate was an uncharacteristic gamble for Moran, who has a reputation for being risk averse. But it paid off. Republicans picked up 9 seats and took power in the Senate.
Moran sits on the powerful appropriations committee in the Senate, which sets federal spending levels. He also is chairman of an appropriations subcommittee in charge of agriculture funding, and has spots on other Senate panels that oversee commerce, transportation, banking and veterans affairs.
Moran was first elected to Congress in 1996, when he won election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins has batted back a Democratic challenge from an Ottawa school board member to hold on to her congressional seat in the 2nd District of Kansas.
Jenkins defeated Democrat Britani Potter to win a fifth two-year term. Jenkins is the senior member of the state’s U.S. House delegation.
Both candidates ran unopposed in their respective primaries.
Closer to Kansas City, in the 3rd Congressional District, Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder was in a closer-than-expected race with Democrat Jay Sidie, but with an early lead of 53 percent to 41 percent.
Yoder’s district, though traditionally Republican, was thought to be leaning toward Clinton at the presidential level.
Contributing: Bryan Lowry of The Eagle and Hunter Woodall of the Kansas City Star.