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« Parties Pick Next Hulshof | Blog Home Page | Dems Battle To Face Chambliss »

Boyda In The Crosshairs

Few Democrats are in greater jeopardy than freshman Rep. Nancy Boyda, whose 2006 win over Republican Jim Ryun was one of the biggest upsets of the year. Now, Ryun is back for another try at his old seat, but he faces State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins in tomorrow's Republican primary, meaning Boyda will begin her general election run against an opponent whose bank account has been depleted.

Boyda, who had lost to Ryun by a fifteen-point margin in 2004, stunned the incumbent with a four-point win in a district that gave President Bush 59% of the vote in his final run. Largely ignored by national Democrats, Boyda rejected offers to become a member of the party's Frontline program for endangered incumbents and called on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to pull the $1.2 million earmarked for advertising on her behalf.

Boyda is well-funded for now, having pulled in almost $1.24 million and retaining $891,000 through the July 16 pre-primary filing deadline. Ryun has actually outraised Boyda, pulling in $1.68 million so far, but his battle with Jenkins has cost him $1.57 million. He held $222,000 in reserve for the final three weeks. Jenkins, on the other hand, has spent slowly and still had $489,000 stored in reserve.

Ryun, running as a conservative, provides a contrast with both Boyda and Jenkins, who has spent her time running as a moderate. Conservative groups including the Club for Growth have put their money behind Ryun, and most agree he retains the strong favorite in tomorrow's vote.

Boyda has kept a moderate record in her first term in Congress, with a voting record very close to the middle of the House and far more conservative than fellow Kansas Democrat Dennis Moore. But Boyda's Second District, which includes Topeka and the eastern fifth of the state not counting Kansas City, is more conservative than Moore's Third District, which includes the state's largest city.

President Bush has already shown up in Kansas, holding a fundraiser for Moore's opponent, and his presence could help replenish Ryun's or Jenkins' depleted warchests after the primary. As Republicans search the country for ways to stanch losses elsewhere, Boyda could find herself a top target in a district that will likely overwhelmingly go to John McCain in November.