Jenkins, Ryun stump for votes during GOP mini-convention
Topeka The former Republican majority in Congress blew it big time, State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins said Saturday as she laid out her case on why she should be the GOP nominee for the 2nd Congressional District.
Meanwhile, Republican Jim Ryun, who is trying to regain the seat, said he's the kind of guy who can be a team player while also saying no to President Bush.
The two candidates' comments came during the 2nd Congressional District Republican mini-convention and offered a preview of what promises to be a hard-fought primary battle.
The district includes Leavenworth County, Topeka, Manhattan and much of southeastern Kansas.
In 2006, Nancy Boyda, a Democrat, defeated Ryun, a five-term incumbent, in a stunning upset that was part of a sweeping victory by Democrats who took control of both the House and Senate.
Republicans have targeted the district as one with the greatest take-back potential in 2008, thus setting up a high-stakes fight in next August's GOP primary.
Jenkins, of Topeka, didn't mention Ryun by name but said Republicans who held the majority in Congress broke their promises of less government, honesty and fairness.
"The old Republican guard let us down. They became complacent, cozy and snuggled up to corrupt lobbyists," Jenkins said.
She said the Republicans talked tough on immigration "but they allowed over 10 million illegal immigrants to flow into our country."
Meanwhile, Ryun, of Lawrence, focused his comments on separating himself from Bush while also accusing Boyda of voting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her "San Francisco values." Pelosi is a Democrat from San Francisco.
He said that while Republicans in Congress have to stick together, there are times when congressmen have to vote as individuals.
Ryun cited three times he stood against Bush's initiatives, voting against No Child Left Behind and expansion of Medicare, and opposing Bush on granting amnesty to illegal immigrants.
Ryun said the 2nd District "is very winnable" for Republicans, especially if U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., is the Democratic presidential candidate.
"She doesn't play well in the 2nd District," Ryun said.
About 80 people attended the mini-convention, which offered workshops on policy issues and election politics and updates on Republican initiatives for the 2008 legislative session.
Earlier, Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh urged Kansas Republicans to stop fighting among themselves and focus on working to shrink government, grow the economy and help families.
"We have to figure out how to come together," Thornburgh said.
While Republicans hold a sizable advantage in Kansas in voter registration, Democrats have made significant gains in the state.
The U.S. House delegation is split 2-2, and Democrats hold two statewide positions in Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Paul Morrison.
"We've gotten a little fat and lazy," said Thornburgh, who is considering a run for governor.
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