WASHINGTON, D.C. President Bush is expected to make a last-minute trip to Kansas this weekend to help boost the re-election hopes of Republican Rep. Jim Ryun, according to state GOP officials.
An e-mail message sent Monday from the Kansas Republican Party to GOP candidates around the state said Bush would lead a rally for Ryun on Sunday in Topeka. The message, obtained by The Associated Press, said the White House wants as many GOP candidates as possible on stage with the president.
A White House spokesman declined to comment, saying Bush's official schedule for the weekend has not yet been finalized.
Ryun, seeking a sixth term in Congress, is facing a tougher-than-anticipated race in his rematch with Democrat Nancy Boyda, whom he defeated with 56 percent of the vote in 2004.
Boyda has insisted for weeks that the race is much closer than Ryun or national officials in either party have thought, though there have been no independent polls to confirm it.
"If he were coming here, we would be ecstatic," Ryun campaign manager Jeffrey Black said Tuesday. "We've never tried to distance ourselves from President Bush."
In a surprise move last week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $339,000 on television ads for Boyda and against Ryun, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Boyda said even she was surprised by the infusion of outside money into the race many analysts had written off as noncompetitive. She has been running a campaign independent from House Democrats and said she didn't ask for the help.
Boyda has raised about $529,000, while Ryun has pulled in about $893,000, according to recent campaign finance reports.
Bush's visit would come less than four weeks after Vice President Dick Cheney hosted a Topeka fundraiser on Oct. 12 that hauled in $200,000 for Ryun.