Congressional Quarterly Politics took a very balanced look at the battle for the 2nd Congressional district in Kansas today, reminding us all that the longer Jim Ryun and Lynn Jenkins bloody themselves the better Congresswoman Nancy Boyda's re-election prospects look.
The article paints a fair picture of the heated battle raging within the Republican ranks currently, mentioning Ryun's strong support within the conservative faction of the party, while Jenkins finds her support coming from the "moderate" wing of the state GOP.
As a side note, Burdett Loomis, Professor of Political Science at KU, has a good quote about "moderate" Republicans in Kansas:
“[S]he’s no moderate in the sense of New York or Connecticut moderates,” Loomis said. “The word ‘moderate’ out here . . . you end up using it, but you almost want to put quotation marks around it.” [Good point! We'll follow your lead!]We appreciate CQ Politics for saying Ryun was kicked out on his duff for being a disconnected and miserable excuse for a Congressman, and that Jenkins has already been smacked around by outside groups.
Ryun, though, has already seen his personal efforts supplemented by those of ideologically compatible outside groups that support him. The political action committee of the Club for Growth, a national group that emphasizes conservative views on economic issues, ran ads as early as last summer calling Jenkins a “tax hiker.”The piece concludes with some good "while the Republican's bloody themselves" content about what Congresswoman Boyda is doing to stay above the fray- occupying herself by doing her job.
The race is going to be tight, and regardless of who manages to claw their way out of the bloodbath that is the Republican primary, Nancy Boyda's going to have to work hard on the campaign trail to get sent back to Washington.
While the Republicans duke it out, Boyda is trying to buff up an image, in the words of press secretary Thomas Seay, as a moderate leader in the Democratic Party who “stepped up to the challenge.”
Boyda, who only switched from the Republican Party herself in 2003, has a substantial presence in the district, returning nearly every weekend to host “Congress on Your Corner” events across the district. Seay said a recent “Congress on Your Corner” event lasted six and a half hours.
And Boyda, though she faces a very difficult challenge in holding her seat, enters her re-election campaign with the benefit of resurgent Democratic organizing efforts in Washington, D.C. — where the “50-State” strategy instituted by Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has led to an infusion of funds and support staff in Republican strongholds long overlooked by the national party — and in Kansas, where the popularity of two-term Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has given her party a boost.
“Sebelius and the Democratic Party have put together, particularly in the 2nd and 3rd districts, a tremendous fundraising, get out the vote operation,” Loomis said. “It’s really one of the real success stories of Dean’s 50-state strategy. Boyda benefits from that substantially.”
But, just like CQ Politics notes, the job Boyda has done has a Member of Congress has successfully defined her as an independent, moderate voice for district, and her on-the-ground appeal is going to make it harder to knock her off than the Republicans would like.