Boyda loses U.S. House seat to Jenkins

Republican Congresswoman-elect Lynn Jenkins speaks during an election watch party in Topeka. Jenkins unseated Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan.

In one of the few bright spots for Republicans on Tuesday night, Lynn Jenkins defeated U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Topeka, for the 2nd Congressional District, which includes west Lawrence.

Jenkins, the state treasurer, was leading Boyda, a first-term representative, 51 percent to 46 percent.

“This is one Kansas farm girl who is ready to make some changes in the way Washington makes its decisions,” Jenkins said.

She said that Congress needs to balance the budget and that one of her top priorities would be to make the tax cuts permanent, which are set to expire in 2010 and 2011.

Boyda congratulated Jenkins and wished her “the very best” and called on the nation to come together to meet challenges such as health care and the troubled economy.

She added, “The last two years were a gift and a joy, and nothing that happens tonight can erase one moment of it.”

Jenkins praised Boyda for a hard-fought campaign, but the National Republican Congressional Committee immediately sent out a news release critical of Boyda.

“Despite the helping hand she received from the mainstream media, voters ultimately rejected Nancy Boyda because she was disinterested in representing Kansas values,” said NRCC press secretary Ken Spain.

Boyda won in the Douglas County portion of the district, 57.6 percent to 39.6 percent, but that wasn’t enough. The district also includes Topeka, Manhattan, and much of southeast Kansas.

More than $1 million from outside groups flowed into the race in television ads that blanketed the airwaves.

Boyda won the seat in 2006, defeating Jim Ryun, a five-term Republican incumbent, in the wave that gave Democrats control of Congress.

In a contentious race, Jenkins defeated Ryun in his comeback attempt during the August GOP primary.

Throughout the general election campaign, Boyda and Jenkins traded charges and counter-chargers in debates and a steady stream of campaign ads.

Jenkins said Boyda’s vote for a non-binding budget resolution that relied on previously adopted tax cuts to expire was a vote for the largest tax increase in history. Boyda and a non-partisan organization that studied federal budget issues said Jenkins’ allegation was false.

Jenkins said she wanted to get rid of budget earmarks and signed a pledge not to increase taxes. But Jenkins had promised not to raise taxes when she was a state legislator and then voted for the largest tax increase in Kansas history.

Jenkins said her background as a certified public accountant would be helpful during the current economic storm. Boyda, however, questioned Jenkins’ competence, alleging Jenkins, as state treasurer, mishandled gas tax disbursements to counties, which shorted many counties, including Douglas County of $340,000. Jenkins has said that a mistake in the disbursement formula was made before she took office, and that it was her staff members who finally detected the problem.

During debates, other differences emerged. Boyda supported an increase in the federal minimum wage, while Jenkins said she would have opposed it. Boyda also voted to increase health care coverage to children from low-income families. At first, Jenkins said she wasn’t familiar with the bill, but later she said she would have voted against it.