"There's really few very much more important". After years in the wilderness, Kansas Democrats converted a dozen seats in the state Legislature in 2016. Kansas 4th District congressional candidate Ron Estes, front center, and Texas Sen. Kansas 4th District congressional Democratic candidate James Thompson, right, does some last-minute campaigning at The Anchor, a popular downtown restaurant, in downtown Wichita, Kan., over lunchtime Monday, .
Until the day before Election Day, that is. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been completely silent in Thompson's race.
"Kansas should not be in play, but Kansas is in play", said one Kansas Republican consultant. "He's been successful by flying under the radar", another operative added.
An internal poll circulating among Republicans showed Estes up by only a single point as of last week. The person said it was recorded over the weekend.
In response, the liberal Daily Kos endorsed Thompson and sent out a fundraising plea, which has so far garnered $178,000 in donations, according to its fundraising page.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is paying for an ad that says Thompson supports using tax dollars to pay for late-term abortions and supports sex-selective abortions.
His campaign spokesman, Rodger Woods, said in an email that Estes is a "conservative who will fight to create jobs, repeal Obamacare, and bring Kansas values to Washington".
The Republican super-PAC Congressional Leadership Fund reported Monday that it had spent $30,000 over the weekend on calls for Estes or against Thompson.
Estes acknowledged people across the country are looking at the Kansas election as an indication of the new president's support and approval rating, and he predicted people will vote for him because of his support for Trump's policies.
"After 8 years of Obama, America is weaker, and the swamp is deeper than we thought", says Estes, standing in an algae-covered pond. "Ron is going to be helping us, big league". Estes faces Democrat James Thompson and Libertar. Grass-roots donors, though, have attempted to deliver a late cash infusion. Estes initially backed Florida Sen.
On Thursday, the nonpartisan handicappers at the Cook Report moved the race from "Solid Republican" to "Likely Republican". The fundamentals of the district are too daunting. Everyone has heard about the special election in Georgia for former Rep. Tom Price's House seat, because Democrats believe that they have a real chance to win there.
He says the idea may be simply to make sure that Estes's base takes the election seriously. But of course, these are not normal times, and resources are flooding into the district from left and right.
His nomination was heralded as a win for establishment Republicans over Trump allies.