The opposing party to the president usually makes gains in the midterms, but in 2018 Democrats are even more enthusiastic because of results of recent special elections.
The question is whether Democratic gains can happen in deep-red Kansas, specifically in the 4th District, where incumbent Rep. Ron Estes, R-Wichita, runs this fall after filling the open seat in a special-election win in 2017.
The Cook Political Report, a national non-partisan website, created seven indicators that could cause re-election problems for House Republicans as Democrats try to pick up the 23 seats needed to regain a majority.
Republican risk factors for a district are: a partisan voting score of GOP five points or less; a district won by Hillary Clinton in 2016; incumbent won with less than 55 percent in 2016; voted for last May’s American Health Care Act; voted for December’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; raised less money in 2018’s first quarter than a Democratic opponent; and has a Democratic opponent with at least $200,000 on hand as of March 31.
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One Republican owns all seven factors. Eight more have six factors.
As GOP races go, Estes is not too bad off. He has three risk factors (won with 52.2 percent last time and voted for ACHA and tax cuts). His Democratic opponent will be either James Thompson — who lost to Estes but by 6.2 percentage points, a far better result than Clinton against Trump here in 2016 — or first-time candidate Laura Lombard.
In Kansas’ 3rd District, covering the Kansas City area, Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder has six of the risk factors Cook cites. No front-runner opposite Yoder has emerged from a group of a half dozen running in the Democratic primary.