Armed with a poll and campaign dollars, Democrat Margie Wakefield's campaign said Tuesday that she has a "clear path" to defeating Republican U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins.
Jenkins' campaign spokesman Bill Roe disagreed, saying, "Any thought of competitiveness in this race is manufactured and not reality."
The 2nd Congressional District includes most of eastern Kansas, including Lawrence and Topeka.
Wakefield's campaign reported raising $109,608 for the July through September quarter. While that is a fraction of Jenkins' $1.45 million cash on hand at the end of the quarter, Wakefield, a lawyer from Lawrence, said she was encouraged by the amount her campaign had raised.
The Democratic polling firm of Anzalone Liszt Grove said, "This race is in play for Margie Wakefield, and she is poised to give Lynn Jenkins a fight for re-election."
The pollsters said the 2nd District "is a swing district in the current political climate."
Jenkins, who has been in the U.S. House since 2009 and is vice chair of the House Republican Conference, leads Wakefield, 49 percent to 39 percent, according to the poll, but the pollsters said that is because of Wakefield's low name identification.
The polling group said that Jenkins suffers a negative job approval rating, that the district is competitive because Democrats lead among self-identified independents, and that high-profile Republicans such as House Speaker John Boehner and Gov. Sam Brownback will be a drag on Jenkins.
But Roe said the poll shows Jenkins with a double-digit lead "in one of the most anti-incumbency months in decades." He added that when Jenkins starts to campaign "we expect the margin to only widen."
The poll, conducted Oct. 7-9, included 400 landline and cell phone interviews of likely voters selected at random. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.9 percent.