Archive for Friday, May 31, 1996


May 31, 1996


The only announced Democratic challenger promises their race will be a marathon.

Associated Press Writer

Topeka -- Jim Ryun, a onetime Olympic runner and Kansas sports icon with little political experience, plans to announce Monday that he will seek Republican nomination to the 2nd Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Sam Brownback.

Lowell Ramsey, a Topeka attorney who is acting as an adviser to Ryun, confirmed on Thursday that the 48-year-old former track star had made up his mind to enter the race.

``Jim has just decided to run,'' Ramsey said. ``We're trying to formulate what he's going to say.''

Ryun will announce his candidacy Monday morning at the Statehouse outside the secretary of state's office, Ramsey said.

Ryun, reached at his rural Lawrence home, declined to comment.

State Rep. Doug Mays of Topeka, who had declared his candidacy for the GOP nomination a week ago, pulled out of the race when Ramsey told him Ryun would seek the nomination.

The GOP race opened up when Brownback decided to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Bob Dole.

The only other declared candidate in the 2nd District is John C. Frieden, a prominent Topeka attorney, who is seeking the Democratic nomination.

Frieden is seeking elective office for the first time.

Joe Myers, Frieden's press secretary, said the Democratic contender is a marathon runner, having competed in the Boston and New York marathons.

``Jim could beat John in the mile, but John could beat him in the marathon,'' Myers said. ``This is going to be a marathon race. This is great Olympic year stuff.''

While Ryun's name looms large in the world of sports, it has been rarely mentioned in GOP political circles. This is the first time he has sought public office, and he does not frequently attend political events.

Mays said he ``vaguely remembers'' Ryun's name coming up two years ago as a possible candidate for the 2nd District seat.

``I don't think he's been terribly active in politics,'' Mays said.

Ramsey said Ryun is formulating his platform for the coming race.

``For sure, it's going to be (for) less government,'' Ramsey said of Ryun's message. ``It's going to be, for sure, restoring the family.''

Ryun lives on a farmstead north of Lawrence in Jefferson County. He has four children, and is a motivational speaker and author. He also has operated sports camps.

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