State parties select nominees for 4th District special election

The Kansas Democratic Party and Kansas Libertarian Party each selected a nominee for a special election to fill the open seat representing Kansas’ District 4 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The two parties voted Saturday for nominees, two days after the Kansas Republican Party nominated State Treasurer Ron Estes as its nominee. Democrat James Thompson and Libertarian Chris Rockhold will be on the ballot for their respective parties for a special election on April 11.

A special election is needed to fill the open seat after the U.S. Senate confirmed former Congressman Mike Pompeo, a Republican, to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. Kansas’ 4th District comprises counties in south central Kansas, including Sedgwick County and the surrounding counties.


For the Republican convention, a candidate needed 51 percent of the vote to be selected as nominee. Estes and former Congressman Todd Tiahrt made it to the second round of voting.

Estes needed 64 votes to secure the nomination and received 66.

In a statement, Republican state chair Kelly Arnold praised the party’s nominee of Estes.

“Ron’s diverse experience and proven leadership is what Kansas needs in Washington,” Arnold said in the statement. “Ron Estes will work hard to deliver the needed changes that we campaigned for this past election cycle. Changes like moving us towards economic freedom, and giving relief from regulations that have burdened our Kansas Farmers and Manufacturers.”


The Kansas Democratic Party selected Thompson as its nominee Saturday at the Sedgwick County Courthouse.

Five candidates sought the nomination. After the first round of voting, three were eliminated and the race narrowed to Thompson and Dennis McKinney.

In order to win, Thompson needed 20 votes. He received 21, compared to 18 for McKinney, officially securing the nomination.

A Democrat has not represented the 4th District since 1995, when Tiahrt took office after beating Democrat incumbent Dan Glickman in the 1994 midterm election.

Despite running as a Democrat in a red state, Thompson said in an interview with KWCH, Channel 12 he is confident in his chances.

“I think the people here are tired of such extreme right, Brownback policies,” he said. “Ron Estes is a Brownback clone and a Trump follower and I think the people here are tired of that, and they’re going to come out and come out in droves against him.”


The Libertarian Party convention was different from the GOP and Democratic conventions. After some question and answer time with the three candidates, any registered Libertarian was allowed to cast a ballot for their candidate choice.

Rockhold won the nomination after one round, securing 17 of 20 votes.

He is a flight simulator instructor from Wichita and a long-time member of the party, according to a news release from the Kansas Libertarian Party.

In a Facebook post Saturday evening, Rockhold thanked his supporters.

“Together we will implement a long-term vision to advance liberty combined with short-term goals,” he wrote. “Our first set of short-term goals will be focused right now at the impact and outcome of this election.”