There were no outright declarations of victory after the Eyewitness News candidate forum between Rep. Mike Pompeo and his challenger, former Rep. Todd Tiahrt.
"I feel very good about tonight," said Tiahrt after the forum was over.
"It was great," said Pompeo.
The race between the current U.S. representative and the man who held the seat for 16 years before him is one of the most talked about campaigns this year. Monday night the two men met face to face in the Eyewitness News studios to answer your questions.
The forum was characterized by the verbal attacks that have become normal when these two candidates meet up. Both stuck to their points throughout, but Dr. Russell Arben Fox, a professor of politics at Friends University, said that will have little to do with the outcome of this race.
"This is not an ideologically motivated race," said Fox.
"It is a federal government that has gotten out of control and way too big," said Pompeo in part of his answer to a question about what are the biggest challenges facing the federal government.
"If you want to stop what's going on in Washington right now you've got to freeze the government and balance the federal budget," said in answer to a question about the federal budget.
Dr. Fox has been following the Tiahrt and Pompeo campaigns and says their stances on the issues really aren't all that far apart and won't be the deciding factor in the race.
"This is going to be a race that's going to be decided by people who like Pompeo, or like Tiahrt," said Fox.
At the forum both men found ways to attack their opponent.
"You can see the large amount of money that's been put into this campaign that's been circling the wagons, trying to protect the incumbent," said Tiahrt in answer to a question about the biggest challenge facing the federal government, as he repeated his stance that special interest money has taken over in D.C. and he's the alternative.
"When I came into office, my predecessor had left a deficit of $1.4 trillion," said Pompeo, in answer to the same question. "We've cut it in half so far."
Fox says based on his conversations with both campaigns and the polls Pompeo is leading.
"I don't think he's staying up at night, scared, that he's going to lose his seat. But, he's not being dismissive towards this at all," said Fox.
"I always take competition very seriously," said Pompeo after the forum was over. "So we're working hard. We are knocking on doors. We're walking the streets, been in parades. We've done all the things that good campaigns do."
"This forum wouldn't be taking place if Pompeo absolutely wasn't concerned about Tiahrt at all," said Fox. "Again, Tiahrt has friends. They're people that remember him fondly. There are some people with deep pockets that really don't like Pompeo."
"What we see on the ground is very strong," said Tiahrt in an interview after the forum was over. "For example we had over 50 people come out for a parade. Pompeo only had his paid staff. We have a ground swell of support that's coming from the people of Kansas."
Pompeo's campaign manager, J.P. Freire, said they did have volunteers at that parade.
Tiahrt's campaign manager, Robert Noland, said, "When we were there, they all have these little name tags for everybody that works at the Pompeo office and they all had these name tags on. That's what we're basing it off of. I'm sure there might've been a few volunteers but we see what we see."
Fox told Eyewitness News there are two reasons why this race is so interesting. One, because Kansas doesn't usually get competitive races like this and two, because both men have strong, passionate followings.