Sabatos Crystal Ball

Kentucky Races

House Outlook for 2008

Will the GOP Swing the Pendulum Back?

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Kansas (02)

Outlook: Toss-up


September 16, 2008 Update:

In our last update, the Crystal Ball was rosy on former Representative Jim Ryun’s chances of securing the GOP nomination for a rematch against Nancy Boyda. At the time, Ryun enjoyed wide leads in the poll and his opponent—Lynn Jenkins—endured criticism for not running an aggressive campaign. Oh, how the tables have turned!

Now, it is Jenkins, not Ryun who prevailed by two points in a hotly contested primary, and the critics of the state treasurer have turned into her biggest proponents. Despite being outraised nearly three to one, Jenkins capitalized on her outsider status and effectively labeled Ryun as a member of the Washington establishment. In this political environment, Jenkins, the more moderate of the two Republicans, seems to be the better candidate to flip the district.

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Boyda has adopted a conscious strategy of distancing herself from national Democrats by refusing any DCCC ads and not attending the DNC in Denver. It remains to be seen whether Boyda’s unilateral moves will establish her as an independent voice in the eyes of voters or whether her decisions will cost her valuable resources in an uphill battle to win reelection.

June 13, 2008 Update:

Two polls taken in April show former Rep. Jim Ryun with a good chance to get on the ballot for a rematch against now-Rep. Nancy Boyda. Ryun faces state treasurer Lynn Jenkins in the GOP primary on August 5, but leads her in polls conducted both by his campaign and by a group supporting Jenkins. Ryun’s poll has him with a 65-21 advantage, while Jenkins’ allies have Ryun leading 50-34. While both Ryun and Jenkins have similar amounts of money left in their campaign accounts, Ryun’s 2 to 1 fundraising advantage has allowed him to spend much more, further cementing his lead.


Background

In what may have been the biggest upset of 2006, an insurgent Nancy Boyda unseated incumbent Representative Jim Ryun in what Ryun admitted was a ”lackluster campaign.” Now, Ryun is back and taking nothing for granted in his rematch against the freshman representative.

Besides incumbency, Boyda has a significant advantage this time around. Before getting the rematch Ryun will have to overcome a contentious primary against state treasurer Lynn Jenkins. While Ryun has been endorsed by the Club for Growth, Jenkins enjoys the support of the Republican Main Street Partnership. The republican contest is already getting heated with the conservative Club for Growth running attack ads against the more moderate Jenkins. A bitter primary has the potential to divide the GOP base and allow Boyda to finish off a bloodied opponent, but one can only wonder how long Boyda can hold out in such a conservative district.

Candidates

Jim Ryun – Republican – former Congressman, lost to Boyda in ’06
Website

Nancy Boyda (I) – Democrat – current Congresswoman
Website

Lynn Jenkins – Republican – current State Treasurer
Website

Kansas (03)

Outlook: Likely Democratic


Background

In his bid for an upset of Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore, Republican state senator Nick Jordan has been bringing in the big guns. Jordan has already held a fundraiser featuring President George W. Bush and hit the campaign trail with NRCC Chair Tom Cole of neighboring Okalahoma. Jordan has also been able to out-fundraise Moore in the second quarter of 2008, prompting many observers to take notice of a seat that was written off before.

Never count out Moore, though, who has appeased enough conservatives to eke out five consecutive victories in a district that supported Bush over Kerry by a 55-44 margin. Close races are nothing new to Moore who won his first four elections by 52, 50, 50, and 55 percent respectively. Moore also has significant money in the bank, over $1 million as of mid-July to Jordan’s $615,000. Moore also has one other advantage, probably the one that worries Republicans the most: the DCCC. This year the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will have much more to spend than their Republican counterparts and Moore will be a likely beneficiary of the DCCC largesse while Jordan will be hoping for NRCC scraps.

Candidates

Dennis Moore (I) – Democrat – current congressman
Website

Nick Jordan – Republican – state senator
Website