Topeka With nearly a year until the November 2008 general election, candidates for Kansas' 2nd Congressional District already are raising huge sums of money.
Incumbent Democrat Nancy Boyda and Republican challengers Lynn Jenkins and Jim Ryun have raised at least $1.7 million in funds, according to the most recent campaign finance reports. That's just shy of the $1.8 million that Ryun and Boyda raised during their 2006 contest.
Washburn University political scientist Bob Beatty said this week it's possible the candidates could raise and spend more than $5 million on the race, given the current pace of fundraising.
Beatty said interest from the national parties on the district would inflate fundraising, as well as from special interest groups.
As of the Sept. 30 federal campaign finance reports, Boyda had raised $546,646. Ryun had raised $777,492 and Jenkins, the state treasurer, had brought in $420,256.
The 2nd District total was more than all candidates for the other three congressional district races combined.
According to the campaign reports, Ryun has spent $558,000 so far, much of it in direct mail. Jenkins has spent $59,000 of her money and Boyda has spent $94,000.
Ryun's campaign has set an internal fundraising goal of "well over" $2 million, campaign manager Kyle Robertson said.
"We feel that will be enough to take us through the primary and win the general election," Robertson said.
Boyda's staff said the money is part of a strategy to get the message out and keep the seat Democratic.
"Money is obviously important," said Boyda spokesman Thomas Seay. "You have to have enough to share your message with voters, but what you say is more important than how loud you say it."