Kansas 4th District congressional candidate Ron Estes, front left, thanks Sen.

In reality, Republicans were so threatened by Thompson's candidacy that in the final days of this election they pumped a whopping $100,000 into television ads.

In a further warning sign for Republicans, Estes narrowly lost the district's most populous county around the city of Wichita to his Democratic opponent James Thompson, a political newcomer.

Estes won by only five points in a district that handed Trump a decisive 27-point margin of victory.

Another race in the suburbs of Atlanta, to replace Republican Tom Price, who's now secretary of Health and Human Services, has become extremely competitive.

But Thomas Hauser, 67, of Belle Plaine, a Republican who works in the information technology industry, said he crossed party lines in Tuesday's election to vote for Thompson. Former Republican congressman Mike Pompeo, whose elevation to the directorship of the Central Intelligence Agency created this special election, regularly won KS-04 by 30 points. "Pompeo carried this district by over 20 points year after year, election after election, and for this to be a single digit race now is a sign that voters are dissatisfied with how things have happened", Jarman said.

In response, Republicans made last-minute efforts to campaign for Estes. "You play every game".

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President Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to praise the victory of a Republican candidate in Tuesday's special congressional election in Kansas.

A drag on Estes' performance, however, was governor Sam Brownback, whose veto of bipartisan legislation to expand healthcare in the state survived a challenge in the legislature earlier this month.

After Tuesday night's special election, a Republican will continue to represent the people in Kansas's Fourth Congressional District.

It was a victory for Estes and for other Republicans in the state. While Trump won with the distrcit overwhelmingly, Estes received 53% of the vote, while Thompson won 46%, and another candidate, Chris Rockhold, who was running as a libertarian, won less than 2%. The GOP push included intervention from Donald Trump and Mike Pence, both of whom recorded robo-calls for local voters; in-person campaigning from Ted Cruz; a fundraising push from Paul Ryan; and 11th-hour investments from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Readers of a liberal blog have donated more than $200,000 in less than a week to the Democratic candidate in a special congressional election in Kansas. Pompeo won the state's 4th District seat in 2010, when Tiahrt gave it up to run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate.

Less than three months after taking control of Washington, the Republican Party has already been put on the political defensive - thanks primarily to House races in Kansas, Georgia and Montana that have proved unexpectedly hard. A tally Tuesday morning showed more than 12,600 donors to Thompson. He also didn't vote for Trump in the last year's general election. Georgia's special election is called a "jungle primary", meaning that if no one comes out with over 50 percent on April 18, the top two contenders will go into a runoff.

The contest showed the massive shift in the electorate since voters elected Donald Trump President in November. "The Democratic base is fully mobilized and unlikely to be defused", said one Republican House member who wanted to speak under anonymity. But he also said he didn't vote for Trump in the presidential election because he doesn't "believe in the party line".