Tuesday, October 31, 2006

It's Official: Incumbent Kansas Congressman Jim Ryun may be close to defeat

By Diane Silver

From The Cook Political Report to Republican incumbent Jim Ryun himself, it's now unanimous: The 2nd District Congressional race in Kansas is so tight that something once thinkable is possible. Ryun might be defeated.

Ryun's acknowledgment today of the race's close nature marked the first time he has shown any doubt about his future.

The fact that there is even the tiniest chance Ryun might lose is amazing given that political pundits and even the Democratic Party once gave Democratic challenger Nancy Boyda no chance of winning. The Kansas City Star even wrote what amounted to Boyda's political obituary on Sept. 14.

More evidence of Ryun's desperation: President Bush is now reportedly scheduled to campaign for Ryun this coming week in Kansas. The question, though, is whether Bush will help or hurt the struggling member of the far right.

The recent visit of Vice President Dick Cheney didn't seem to do much for Ryun outside of raising a few bucks. Even out here in red-state Kansas, you have to wonder how much Bush can do to help a candidate.


At this point, Bush only gets a 41 percent approval rating in the entire state of Kansas. Eastern Kansas where the 2nd District is located has the lowest opinion of our president with only 36 percent of those surveyed viewing Bush favorably. The SurveyUSA poll was taken Oct. 12-Oct. 15 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.


Josh Rosenau said...

Of course, Eastern Kansas also includes the liberal parts of Lawrence and Wyandotte Co. that make up the 3rd CD. I suspect that Bush does somewhere between the 36% and 41%. Plus, the margin of error goes up as sample size goes down, so the margin for eastern Kansas would be 5.2%, the margin for the 2nd district would be even larger.

Diane Silver said...

Hi Josh!

It's great to see your comment.

Yup, everything you say is true, and it does mean that Bush may well be an advantage for Ryun, or he might not. We'll just have to see.

What's also true is that one of Boyda's key campaign theme is her anti-Bush stand. Thus, I guess we'll see how well the 2nd responds to that with the man here himself.

The 2nd District was drawn by Republicans to dilute the Democratic strength of Lawrence and to make it a safe seat for Republicans. Otherwise, there wouldn't be any reason to cut the city of Lawrence in half.

Personally, I fluctuate between total optimism and complete depression about the upcoming election. One second I think Dems are going to run the board, and the next I think progressives are just going to fall on their faces again.

Can Boyda defeat Ryun? Yes, no, maybe... the fact that's even a question, though, is a sign of how badly the GOP is doing right now. In a normal year, Boyda wouldn't have had a chance.

Perhaps, the most important thing to say is that it's time for all of us to go out, work on campaigns, and most of all, make certain we and our friends vote.

Wendy Lestina said...

Congratulations! on changing the "What's the Matter with Kansas" image ... I commented on the Ryun defeat and linked to this site for more info...Nice work, Diane.