Archive for Friday, June 8, 2007

Congressional briefing: Wall Street Journal — Boyda turns right to keep seat

June 8, 2007

The Wall Street Journal profiles Nancy Boyda, suggesting - as the headline says - that she is taking conservative positions in Congress in order to hang onto her (formerly Republican) seat.

Kevin Helliker starts off:

Freshman Rep. Nancy Boyda of Kansas recently joined 95 Republican lawmakers signing a letter attacking amnesty for illegal immigrants. She remains opposed to gun control even in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings. And she touts her credentials as a decades-long Republican.

Today, the 51-year-old Ms. Boyda is a Democrat. But you often wouldn't know it as she gears up to run for re-election in November 2008. With Republicans aggressively attacking her, and two Republicans already seeking her seat, she is positioning herself as independent. She plans to keep the word "Democrat" off her yard signs and rejects assistance from the Democrats' national congressional campaign committee.

Next year's battle for Congress is well under way, even as presidential politics are getting most of the attention. Ms. Boyda's success will help determine whether the Democratic Party can keep control of Congress, and show how firmly it has planted new roots in conservative corners of the country where it made surprising gains last fall -- places like Kansas, Indiana, Kentucky and Texas.

Some other highlights from the article:

  • "Following the defeat (in 2004), Ms. Boyda felt called to join the ministry. But after talking with her pastor and the Methodist bishop of Kansas, she concluded that God was calling her instead to make another run for Congress. ... Rep. Boyda says she doesn't wear her religion on her sleeve and doesn't believe God ordained her to win, just to run. She says she believes that inserting religion into government or vice versa hurts both institutions."
  • "The campaign made local newspapers its primary mass-media vehicle. Using their home computer, the Boydas created a 12-page newsletter filled with family photographs and articles outlining the candidate's positions. Then they paid 26 mostly rural newspapers to carry it as an insert in weekday editions, to avoid the clutter of Sunday papers. The cost: just $93,000. "Anybody who thinks that people don't read newspapers anymore doesn't live in a small town," says Mr. Boyda, 62."
  • "She has faced some bare-knuckled attacks as Republicans try to undermine her. In February, press releases from various Kansas Republicans accused the Democratic-led Congress and Rep. Boyda in particular of eliminating funding for capital expenditures at two military bases in Kansas. The accusation prompted newspapers across the state to write editorials attacking the Democratic-led Congress, often singling out Rep. Boyda for criticism. 'Losing this money would have a dramatic impact not only on the bases at Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth but on the state's economy,' said a Feb. 11 editorial in the Topeka Capital-Journal. ... In fact, the new congress did approve base spending, and the Kansas forts started receiving it this spring. Rep. Boyda won a corrective editorial in the Capital-Journal. 'Turns out, those Republican charges were wrong, not to mention deceptive,' said the paper, whose editorial board had endorsed Mr. Ryun in 2006."

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