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June 27th   , 2024                 Len’s Political Note #653 Nancy Boyda Kansas 02

2024                                         General Election

Nancy’s back.  Not that one.  Nancy Pelosi has never left.  She’s still in Congress.  Nancy Boyda was elected to Congress in 2006 after trying in 2004.  She stayed for a term, losing in 2008 to Lynn Jenkins who remained in office for a decade.

Nancy Boyda and others attributed her 2008 loss her refusal to go negative and her rejection of help from national Democrats.  She understands that she made a political mistake, but also recognizes that going negative is against her nature.  So is accepting outside help.  Call it Kansas nice and Kansas independence.

Nancy Boyda considered running for the US Senate, when the seat was open, in 2020, but withdrew, explaining:  “From the beginning, I have been focused on one issue: healing the bitter, toxic divide in our country.  At a time when we need to be addressing huge issues, we cannot even speak to each other.  I am fearful our beloved country is about to split in two and I will do everything I can to keep that from happening.  I dearly love this country and want it to heal and to thrive for my children and grandchildren.  I am stepping aside to pursue this calling of brining Kansans together, but this time without the constraints of a partisan campaign.  I am deeply honored and grateful for the support and encouragement I have received for my campaign.  I intend to keep fighting the good fight.”

Nancy Boyda is back.  She will accept the constraints of a partisan campaign (even the constraints of a primary).  She accepts help and, if appropriate, will go negative. She will not know for sure if she is the nominee until after the August 6 primary.  She will not know who the Republican nominee until then either.  KS 02 includes most of eastern Kansas, Topeka and Emporia, but bends west to miss Kansas City.  The seat is open because the incumbent Jake LaTurner opted out of running for reelection. A young man with four young children, he insists his decision had nothing to do with how difficult it is to cope with Congress’s dysfunction. He seems to be the only one who believes that.

Nancy Boyda’s Democratic opponent is Matt Kleinmann, a former KU basketball player, a community development director, and a graduate student in architecture.  Her potential Republican opponents are quite a collection:

  • Jeff Kahrs was Jake LaTurner’s district director. He said “our nation is in peril. We have an open border, staggering debt, runaway inflation and a culture that celebrates sexual deviance…. ..”
  • Michael Ogle recently pled guilty to domestic assault. About running, he said “Why not take my shot.” The Kansas Reflector said “after Donald Trump’s May 20 convictions….[t]he bar just keeps getting lower in American politics.”
  • Shawn Tiffany, who describes himself as a conservative cowboy said he was running because “weak-kneed career politicians in our party have enabled the Socialist Left and allowed them to push their extreme agenda on Kansas…”
  • Chad Young explains he is a God fearing man, husband, father of 9 children and is a constitutional patriot running against the tyrannical government. He founded a non-profit for troubled youth.
  • Derek Schmidt is the favorite to be the nominee. Formerly Kansas’s Attorney General, in 2022, he lost to Incumbent Democrat Laura Kelly who won reelection to a second term as governor.  Known as a moderate Democrat when he was a state senator, he supported Trump’s claims that he had won the 2020 election and, according to the Reflector, “embraced far-right talking points about vaccines, transgender kids, and critical race theory.”

Nancy Boyda does have a slim chance in this district.  No one expected Jake LaTurner’s late April withdrawal from the race.  No one had a war chest.  Republicans will focus on each other until August 6.  There are no Republican v. Democratic polls, no hints except one poll that suggests Schmidt is the front runner for the Republican primary. The district was Republican when she was elected two decades ago.  It still is.  In 2022, Jake LaTurner won the election 58 – 42, doing about the same as Trump did in 2020.  Trump carried the district 56 – 41.  There is, however, a potential market for Kansas nice and Kansas independence.

During her single term in Congress, she had a bill passed – unanimously.  The bill was to deny pensions to Members of Congress convicted of bribery, conspiracy, or perjury.  She had wanted to join the Democrats’ Blue Dog coalition, but was one of three applicants they turned down (that is, they were put on “pending” status}.  The other two were Henry Cuellar of TX 28 who is still in Congress (See Len’s Political Note #651) and  Harry Mitchell of AZ 05 who was eventually admitted to the group, but lost to Republican David Schweikert in the Democratic debacle of 2010.   Schweikert is still in Congress, but precariously.  Several Democrats believe they can defeat him in 2024.

The possibility of withdrawing troops from Iraq was a major issue during Nancy Boyda’s tenure.  She was on the armed services committee and voted against removing troops.  She explained she favored a more gradual withdrawal from Iraq than the legislation called for.  She made national news while listening to an army general describe a rosy scenario of both the surge offensive and security in Iraqi neighborhoods.  She left the hearing, took five minutes in an adjacent room, and came back to listen to more drivel.

After her electoral defeat, Nancy Boyda went to work for the Obama administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Personnel.  When Trump replaced Barack Obama, she returned to Kansas – no longer to work as a chemist for pharmaceutical companies as she had done previously, but to manage the family’s small farm while her husband practiced law.  Except for her thought about running for the US Senate in 2020, her projects have been more homely.  She serves on the board of the Homeless Resource Center where she also organizes volunteers.  She serves on the board of a barn dance association that promotes traditional American music and dancing.  The farm is a site for preschool education.  Young children grow sweet potatoes and come to appreciate farming and nutrition.

Nancy Boyda is back in politics now.  Her theme resonates with her past: “Solutions Are In The Center.”  She promises to push for a bipartisan bill on immigration – one that might resemble bills that passed the Senate in 2008 and 2024.  She decries the money that has entered politics since the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision and would introduce a constitutional amendment to overturn it.  She compares the dangers of unhealthy foods for children to the dangers of tobacco for adults and promises to take up the issue to find a way to make children’s diet healthier.  As with the food issue, she supports cultural, rather than legal changes to address climate change.  She understands that the people of Kansas reject regulations that tell them what their children can eat or drink or what they can drive or the temperature they can keep their houses at.

Support Nancy Boyda in her quest to return to Congress.  We could use a touch of Kansas nice and Kansas independence in Congress these days.  What’s more, Nancy Boyda has learned a little bit over the years without changing her character.  DONATE TO NANCY BOYDA

Don’t forget to support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. 

There could be presidential election years where it did not matter whether or not you donated to the presidential campaign.  Not this year.

  • 2020 was relatively close. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won: 51.3 – 46.8.  The electoral college was 306-232, but several states were close enough that the electoral college could have gone the other way.
  • As of 4/30/24, since 1/1/21, the Biden-Harris campaign had received $195 million. Open Secrets reports that outside organizations supporting that campaign had received $111 million. The Trump campaign had received $121 million. Open Secrets reports that outside organizations supporting that campaign had received $123 million.  Until we learn more officially about funds raised after Trump’s conviction, we can assume those figures are an accurate reflection of the relative financial strength of the two campaigns.
  • In June, the polls show Trump and Biden even, Trump leading by a point, Biden leading by a point. Biden may have caught up, but he had caught up to create a tie.
  • DONATE TO JOE BIDEN AND KAMALA HARRIS See Len’s Political Note #605


Other House of Representatives Kansas candidates to support (Nearby states, too)

KS 03 Sharice Davids

Sharice Davids has had a few turning points in her life.  From her hardscrabble experience as a student at University of Missouri at Kansas City, she won the prize of admission to Cornell Law School.  She did well, was hired by a large corporate firm, and hated it. She made a little money from her hobby – mixed martial arts, but moved on to Kansas where she worked with the Pine Ridge Reservation on ways they could be entrepreneurs.  That was the starting point of her Congressional candidacy.  She was elected to Kansas 03, a district bounded in the north by Kansas City,  in 2018 and is running for her fourth term as one of the few Native Americans in Congress.  DONATE TO SHARICE DAVIDS See Len’s Political Note #422 (for the 2022 campaign)


NE 02 Tony Vargas

State Senator Tony Vargas grew up in New York.  His Peruvian parents moved from the City to Long Island for better quality schools.  He went to the University of Rochester and returned home to Pace to get an education degree. Teach for America brought him and his wife to Ohama. They stayed, became leaders of Nebraska’s Democratic Party, and he was elected to Nebraska’s unicameral legislature. For the second time, he is running in this Omaha based district against Congressman Don Bacon, a leader of the forever caving Congressional Republican moderates.  In 2022, Tony Vargas lost 51.3 to 48.7.  In the 2024 money race, one April 24 they were virtually tied:  Tony Vargas with $1.6 million, Don Bacon with $1.7 million.  The most recent head to head poll was in February and  Tony Vargas led by 3 points.  This is a contest. DONATE TO TONY VARGAS. See Len’s Political Note #587


CO 08 Yadira Caraveo

Yadira Caraveo is the daughter of Mexican immigrants.  All of their children have been educated.  She is the one who became a doctor.  A pediatrician, her practice has largely been with low-income children.  She ran for CO 08 in 2022, when this district running north from Denver was created as a result of the 2020 census. She had been an independent minded state rep, willing to challenge the marijuana industry on health issues and was elected 48.4 to 47.7.  On March 31, she had a commanding lead in cash on hand — $2 million versus $330,000 for her probable opponent.   A Republican funded poll in April showed her behind by a point.  DONATE TO YADIRA CARAVEO.  If she can keep her financial lead, she should win reelection.  See Len’s Political Note #537


US Senate Candidates to support

Kansas. Dan Osborn

Dan Osborn is the surprise of the 2024 election year.  He is running as an independent and rejected endorsement by the Democrats.  The Democrats have, nevertheless, avoided nominating a candidate.  He was an industrial mechanic, a trade he had learned in the military.  He was also a local union leader and joined the leadership of a regional strike against Kellogg’s two tier pay system.

Dan Osborn’s candidacy struck a chord.  A poll last year when he was almost entirely unknown found him leading the uninspiring incumbent by 2 points.  A poll in April, demonstrated that his candidacy had become serious.  People knew who he was and he trailed the incumbent by only 4 points.  He needs financial help. On April 24, he had $400,000 to Incumbent Deb Fischer’s $2.7 million.  DONATE TO DAN OSBORN See Len’s Political Note #614


Missouri. Lucas Kunce

Lucas Kunce has a prize for an opponent.  This is not to say that Incumbent Senator Josh Hawley is not a bright guy.  He went to Stanford and Yale Law School.  It is just that he is a little weird, maybe even a little creepy.  It is not so much that, as Attorney General he did not file charges against jailers who killed a prisoner. Declining to file charges is no longer par for the course in this country, but it is not unusual.  Nor is it that Hawley could never quite find his way to discovery illegal behavior by disgraced former governor Eric Greitens.

There is more.  It is not that Hawley and the US Supreme Court seem to have been the only ones who thought a 247 year sentence for a 16 year old for robbery was not cruel and unusual.  Even the judge responsible for the sentence had, upon reflection, thought it was cruel and unusual.  Nor was it that he described a demonstration at his Virginia home which left a pamphlet at his front door denouncing the effort to overturn the 2020 election as antifa inspired vandalism rather than the candlelight vigil that it was.  What is weird, creepy, even cruel is his book that celebrates his understanding of toughness and masculinity.

Lucas Kunce, who grew up with far fewer resources than did Hawley, is also smart.  He went to Yale then came home for law school to the University of Missouri. At Yale, he was comfortable enough in his masculinity to run track, play ultimate frisbee, and join the cheerleaders. After law school he joined the marines.  He was a judge advocate lawyer, served two tours of duty in Iraq, and went on to serve in arms negotiations and be on the Council of Foreign Relations.  He mocks Hawley’s vision of masculinity and comments on Hawley both cheering the January 6 insurrectionists and running away from them.

DONATE to Lucas Kunce’s campaign. Missouri’s Republican lean is not irrevocable.  In 2022, Eric Schmitt was elected to the US Senate from Missouri 55-42.  In 2018, Josh Hawley defeated the incumbent Democrat 51 – 46.  The website 538 reports only one recent poll – in March.  Hawley was leading by 14 points. Hawley is leading in the money race, but that is not irrevocable either.  On March 31, Hawley had $5.5 million.  Lucas Kunce had $3.3 million.  Donations to Kunce’s campaign could make a difference.  See Len’s Political Note #538