Boyda edges Ryun 50-47
TOPEKA -- U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Kan., didn't know what hit him.
A five-term incumbent, Ryun was soundly defeated Tuesday by Democratic challenger Nancy Boyda, stunning most observers and contributing to a Democratic recapture of the U.S. House.
Ryun easily defeated Boyda when she first challenged him in 2004.
"Winning is a lot more fun," Boyda told a cheering crowd at the Democrats' victory party.
Ryun, a conservative Republican and devout Christian, appeared dazed in his concession speech shortly before 11 p.m.
"I still think we have the right values," Ryun said, shortly before thanking his staff and turning the microphone over to his wife, Ann, who praised God.
"To God be the glory for the great things he has done," she said, smiling. "We are people of faith."
Minutes later, Ryun, his family and staff left the stage, declining to meet with reporters.
In 2004, Ryun defeated Boyda by almost 44,000 votes. She won this election by about 7,800 votes with 95 percent of precincts reporting at 12:45 a.m. Wednesday, 51 percent to 47 percent.
In her victory speech, Boyda said Congress needs to break the influence of big money, tackle the problems of health care and craft a balanced energy policy.
She credited her victory to a grass-roots campaign and education for voters with lots of information in the form of newspaper inserts.
"Staying low and under the radar was absolutely part of our strategy," she said. "We've worked many, many hours to get this thing done."