Kansas’ 4th, 6.6%, and Sam Brownback

I’ve been going back and forth with a few people on Twitter this afternoon about the meaning behind the sudden Republican money and manpower being dumped into Kansas’ 4th District. After all, the Democrat was lamenting a lack of support from his state party, the district voted for Donald Trump by a twenty-seven point margin, and it had gone to Mike Pompeo by an even wider one. Someone in the conversation mentioned Governor Sam Brownback, who currently sports one of the worst approval ratings in the country. Brownback narrowly won re-election in 2014, so I went back and dug up his tallies in the 4th Congressional district.

Despite the region’s Republican inclinations, the Governor only beat Democratic candidate Paul Davis 53.3% to 46.7% here. While a wider margin than what he had earned statewide, this 6.6% margin was terrible in a district like this- and that over two years ago. In Sedgwick County, which cast over half the district’s vote in 2014, it was even closer: Brownback beat Davis there by only 2.4%. If the local Democrats are associating Ron Estes, the Republican Congressional candidate and current State Treasurer, with the unpopular Governor, and it’s resonating on the ground, that would be setting off alarms for Republicans. I still expect the race to be a rather easy Republican victory, but Tuesday night could prove interesting after all.