The 2nd District spans 26 eastern Kansas counties, stretching from Nebraska to Oklahoma. The bulk of the district's voters are in Douglas, Shawnee, Leavenworth and Riley counties. Leavenworth County is home to Fort Leavenworth; Riley County borders Geary County, which includes Fort Riley.
In 2004, Riley and Leavenworth counties favored Ryun by 8,870 votes. This year, the two counties favored Ryun by less than 2,000 votes.
"More than anything, Nancy Boyda's victory reflects a dissatisfaction with Congress for what's seen as being nonresponsive to the nation's problems: the war in Iraq, energy prices, illegal immigrants," said Bob Beattie, a political science professor at Washburn University.
Writing for the Journal-World, Dave Ranney also reports an interesting theory about Boyda allegedly running a stealth campaign and purposely keeping her distance from the national party. Perhaps. From where I sit, though, it looked more like the national Democratic Party didn't believe she could win until the end.