Topeka State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins is a candidate to challenge Democratic Rep. Nancy Boyda in Kansas' 2nd District next year, having filed the necessary paperwork with federal election officials.
Jenkins, a Topeka Republican, filed the documents this week, permitting her to begin accepting contributions. She expects to launch her campaign after the 2007 legislative session ends in late April or early May.
"I have traveled the 2nd District and listened carefully to what folks have on their minds and continue to receive strong encouragement to run for Congress," Jenkins said in a written statement.
She is the second Republican to announce plans to take on Boyda, after Jim Ryun, who held the seat for 10 years but lost to Boyda in November. Ryun already is raising money.
Jeff Wagaman, a spokesman for Jenkins, said she is aware of Ryun's plans and is undeterred.
"We don't know how crowded the primary is going to be. We don't care, and she's going to win," Wagaman said.
Boyda has declined to speculate on who will try to challenge her.
"Frankly, 2008 is still a long way away," said Boyda spokesman Thomas Seay. "Our office is focused on serving our constituents, not on politics."
Jenkins, 43, is serving her second term as treasurer. She served two years in the Kansas House, then two more in the Senate before running for treasurer in 2002. She was re-elected last year.
Though she's often seen as a moderate Republican, Jenkins has avoided alienating conservative GOP activists. She had no primary opposition last year, when conservatives unsuccessfully challenged Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh and Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger.
Ryun lost to Boyda after beating her easily in 2004. His re-election campaign struggled to resonate with voters in the district of eastern Kansas.
Boyda was successful in running a populist campaign with her own money and little notice from outside the state, riding anti-Republican sentiment that swept the country and sent Democrats into the majority of both chambers in Congress.
Boyda also made an issue of Ryun's constituent services and his ties to the administration. Those links were evident when President Bush and Vice President Cheney made appearances in the district before the election.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has been watching the 2nd District, criticizing her for her recent votes on military construction spending, the war in Iraq and rolling back Bush tax cuts. Democrats have responded by placing Boyda's district on a list of vulnerable seats they intend to defend aggressively in 2008.