An interesting analysis piece appears at CQPolitics.com today and it say, this time for a national audience, though, all of the same sorts of things us kids on the ground have been hearing for months.
Since her 2006 victory, Boyda has done something of a balancing act on economic issues. She joined most Democrats in voting to increase the national minimum wage and supported a bill to expand a health care program for lower-income children whose families lack insurance. But Boyda has also sided with conservatives on issues such as limiting illegal immigration and in voting about a month ago against both the failed and successful version of legislation to implement a financial industry assistance package (widely described as the “bailout” bill).Good, good- worked with Democrats to help the poor in the district, but sided with the Republicans on illegal immigration & the bailout- pretty clearly striking an independent pose, no?
If that's not enough of independent credentials for you- here's some more:
No need to mention Lynn- with her trials and tribulations regarding KPERS meetings and tens of millions of dollars mismanaged on her watch, simply reminding voters why the love Boyda does exactly what's needed.
Boyda is so determined to maintain an image as a political independent that she asked, for the second consecutive election, that national Democratic Party organizations stay out of her race. Officials at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) — who had been poised to put roughly $1.2 million into independent expenditures for TV ads aimed at swaying voters to Boyda’s side — initially said they would honor Boyda’s request, made in August, to keep their distance. But last week, the DCCC overruled and began airing a 30-second TV spot in the 2nd District.
Still, unlike DCCC independent expenditure campaigns in many districts that harshly criticize Republican candidates, the Kansas 2 ad highlights some of Boyda’s legislative efforts over the past two years and makes no mention of challenger Jenkins.
Two leading Kansas political science minds are of two minds regarding the race:
Here, here, Prof. Loomis! And, certainly while Prof. Beatty makes an excellent point, we've thought all along Boyda's outreach all over the district- her service to the people she represents- will make up for the Republican leans of the district.
“Jenkins has said she considers [the 2nd district] a Republican seat, and I think there is something to that,” said Bob Beatty, a political science professor at Washburn University in Topeka. “It is a district that’s tough for a Democrat to win. In a presidential year with more voters, are they willing to keep a Democrat to be their rep?”
But Burdett Loomis, a political science professor from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, said of Jenkins’ tax argument, “I think it’s hard to pin much on Boyda. She’s pretty darn conservative. I’m not sure that that’s been going very far.”
Loomis added that the grass-roots enthusiasm that Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has generated could boost turnout among the Democratic Party base even in a district like Kansas 2 that is expected to go fairly handily to Republican John McCain. If that occurs, it could temper the conventional wisdom that increased presidential year turnout should benefit the Republican ticket.
“It’s a good Democratic year, even in Kansas,” said Loomis. “This district has been represented by Democrats in the past. It’s more of a populist district than a Republican or Democratic district. I think Boyda fits that really well.”
The article goes on to make a fun point about outside influences in the race- Boyda has shirked all outside help, instead hoping to let the voters make up their own minds, while Jenkins has pulled in as much outside assistance as she could find, including scheduling a fundraiser with President George W. Bush (that he canceled on her) and recently with a visit from failed presidential candidate and former Governor of "Taxachusetts" Mitt Romney."
In the end, CQPolitics leaves the races in the catagory of "No Clear Favorite" which, we're sure, makes good sense to folk just looking at the race through the prism of dollars and party registration. In Kansas, though, party registration doesn't tell you that much, and Boyda has already proven you don't need to break the bank to win in the Kansas 2nd.
One week out, kids, one week out.