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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas congressman is complaining that he’s the target of a political trick after a candidate who shares his name and hometown filed to run against him in the Republican primary.

Rep. Ron Estes won a tougher-than-expected special election last year for the Wichita-area seat formerly held by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He is a 61-year-old former two-term state treasurer.

The other Ron Estes from Wichita on the August ballot describes himself on his website as a first-time candidate and father of two. He posted a statement calling his congressman-namesake “the epitome of the DC Swamp.”

The 61-year-old challenger and his wife are registered Republicans who’ve consistently voted in GOP primaries starting in 2010.

But online campaign finance records show that together, the challenger and his wife have a history of contributions to Democratic candidates. His wife contributed a total of $1,155 to James Thompson, the Democratic nominee in last year’s special election, who’s running again.

“This is clearly an attempt to deceive Kansas voters,” said Josh Bell, the congressman’s spokesman, referring to his boss as the “authentic” Ron Estes.

The challenger calls himself the “real” Ron Estes and said in an email that he backed Thompson because he opposed the future congressman. He said he’s worked 40 years for aircraft manufacturer Boeing and isn’t involved in Democratic politics. Campaign finance records described his wife as a retired teacher.

How will voters tell the candidates apart on the primary ballot?

For now, the state plans to list the incumbent as Rep. Ron Estes and the challenger as Ron M. Estes.


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