Nancy for Congress


This was the official website for Nancy Boyda's 2004 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives challenging four–term, incumbent U.S Representative Jim Ryun, a Republican. The district encompassed almost all of eastern Kansas running from the northern border with Nebraska and sweeping southward to Oklahoma, taking in the state capital, Topeka, as well as Manhattan, Leavenworth, Parsons, and Pittsburg. Reapportionment in the early 1990s created the modern district—which merged traditionally Republican counties in the southeast corner of the state, with counties in the northeast that had begun voting for moderate Democrats in the 1970s and 1980s. Boyda lost her initial matchup to Ryan by 15 percent, but returned to challenge him again in 2006.

In 2006 Nancy Boyda defeated a five–term incumbent to win election to the U.S. House from a district in eastern Kansas. During her single term in Congress, Representative Boyda received two prime committee assignments—allowing her to tend to her district’s military presence and agricultural interests. In 2008, Congresswoman Boyda mounted her re–election effort and faced Republican Lynn Jenkins, the Kansas state treasurer, who had defeated former Representative Ryun in the GOP primary. In the general election, Jenkins defeated Boyda 51 to 46 percent. Representative Boyda’s term expired at the conclusion of the 110th Congress on January 3, 2009.

Content is from the site's 2004 archived pages as well as from other sources.

Update: When Nancy Boyda first challenged Jim Ryun in 2004, my girlfriend was so excited. She volunteered and spents hours going door to door. She was heart broken when Nancy lost. But I have to admire how Nancy came roaring back and defeated the five–term incumbent two years later. Again my girlfriend campaigned for her and was thrilled with the victory. Unfortunately two years later Nancy Boyda was defeated by another woman, Lynn Jenkins. Jump ahead to 2018 and the amazing upsurge in women candidates. While I sit here doing a search for a dog bed for my mother's new puppy, my wife is reading me the results from yesterday's elections where Democratic state Rep. Lauren Arthur flipped a Missouri state Senate seat on Tuesday, triumphing over Republican state Rep. Kevin Corlew by a double-digit margin. It was Missouri’s first special election since the resignation last month of Republican Gov. Eric Greitens. My wife (same girlfriend who worked on Nancy Boyda's 2004 & 2006 campaigns) startles me by exclaing, "Do you realize that is the 42nd state legislative seat Democrats have turned from red to blue during Donald Trump’s presidency?" "Impressive" I respond. "perhaps there is hope for the mid terms." I then asked if she could take a look at the cute round dog bed styles I found at an e commerce site called Good Night Dog. Once I saw their round beds I was hooked but I still needed her input regarding which of the designer fabrics I should select. She pointed to a blue and white design. "That toille is perfect for your mother's living room. It will coordinate very well with the rest of her furniture. In fact it looks exactly like the design of her window drapes." And is frequently the case, my wife was correct. The designs were the same. My mother adored the round dog bed I bought her and ordered one for her bedroom, in a different fabric - check them out here: Meanwhile my wife is out stumping for Democratic candidate Jane Raybould who is considered the underdog in her Senate race in our red state of Nebraska. She is running against the incumbent Republican U.S. senator Deb Fischer. Raybould is trying to pull off an upset this fall, in a general election, which most outside observers, including the Cook Political Report, expect Fischer to win. She definitely has the advantage powered by her incumbency and the Republicans’ registration advantage in Nebraska. Nevertheless, my wife is out there showing the same determination she had when she was working on Nancy Boyda's 2004 & 2006 campaigns.


In early 2003, prompted by the growing concern about what the Bush deficit would do to our nation and our economy during wartime, Nancy Boyda took action. She entered the race for Congress. A life-long Republican, Nancy continued to voice what she had long been feeling, the Republican Party had abandoned her and millions of other middle class citizens and were advancing the interests and wealth of just a few.

Realizing her principles were aligned with those of the Democratic Party, Nancy changed her party affiliation in the summer of 2003. She then made the commitment to no longer remain silent and began the process of waging a full-scale fulltime campaign to return a moderate voice to the 2nd Congressional District in 2004. Nancy believes the working people of Kansas, not the wealthy corporate interests supported by Jim Ryun, deserve representation. She will aggressively fight for healthcare for families, for legislation that will ensure the creation of jobs that pay a living wage and for fairer taxes. To this end, she has committed to spend the next year fulltime, day and night, listening to and talking with Kansans from every walk of life. She wants to show that it is time for all politicians to walk the talk.

Nancy attended William Jewell College in Liberty, MO, and graduated with honors. She received dual degrees in chemistry and education. In 1978, during the Carter Administration, she began a career working as an analytical chemist and field inspector for the Environmental Protection Agency. In 1981 she joined Marion Laboratories. It was a well-run company with signs everywhere that read, "Those who produce share in the rewards." But corporate ethics and behavior started to change in the mid to late 80's. A series of mergers and acquisitions took place in the late 80's and 90's that dismantled the company.

Laid off in 1993, and a single parent at the time, Nancy was confronted with what millions of other Americans were faced with: the absence of meaningful job security and long-term health insurance. She then accepted a management position with a small pharmaceutical company. Within two years, a department that had never turned a profit was transformed under her leadership into a successful, profitable business unit. Competition, demanding work hours, motivation, and pride were hallmarks of that experience for Nancy and members of her department. Although the department became highly profitable, the employees were compensated at the lowest possible levels. Company owners then summarily rejected Nancy's fight for better compensation for her employees. Within two years of reaching a healthy profit, the owners sold the company, took the profits, and made no effort to further compensate the workforce that had helped them reach their goal.

For the next five years, Nancy held management positions in a small, startup pharmaceutical company. As her children grew older and more independent, she began reading and studying more about the social issues our country was facing. She began speaking up about issues of job security, access to healthcare, the need to protect public education and our environment, and why pharmaceuticals cost so much.

In addition to her professional work, Nancy was a Big Sister to a young woman in Kansas City.

Nancy is married to Steve Boyda, attorney and lifelong Democrat. After practicing law for 27 years in Marshall County, he now practices law with a firm in Manhattan, Kansas. Nancy is the mother of two children and five stepchildren. An avid cyclist, Nancy has ridden her bike across Kansas nine times. In addition, she is a member of Countryside United Methodist Church in Topeka.

When we all do better...

Posted 5/25/2004

Nancy's Notes #3

None of us needs to be reminded of the enormous civil rights victory that Brown represented; none of us could forget how far we've come since 1954, nor how far we still have to go in ensuring equal opportunity for everyone of every race. What is all too easy to forget is why we fell into the trap of segregation to begin with.

Nancy Thanks Volunteers for Petition Support

Posted 5/25/2004

You and I accomplished something extraordinary last week.

We filed for the November ballot by petition--something no Democrat in Kansas has achieved in a decade, and something Jim Ryun could not manage when he first ran for office.

Boyda to oppose Ryun in House race

Posted 5/14/2004

Topeka Capital-Journal — Democrat Nancy Boyda has officially filed for office in Kansas' 2nd Congressional District.

Welcome from Nancy

I'm running for US Congress to restore moderate leadership to Washington, and I need your help.

Please look around this site to learn what I stand for: better health care, more jobs, improved public education, and strong homeland security. I hope you will then, like me, choose to fight for a change in our nation's capital.

My name will be the one on the ballot on November 2, but I'm only one person in this movement. Your help is crucial in our mission to return the true voice of the Kansas Second District to Congress. Please consider volunteering or contributing today!

I look forward to working beside you during our campaign!



Most of you in the Second District are political moderates, but many of your representatives in Washington today, including Jim Ryun, are far to the right wing. I'm going to Washington as a moderate voice to ensure that our representatives in Congress are truly representative of the people of Kansas.

Here are some of the most important ways I differ from Jim Ryun, and how I will use my vote in Congress to improve our district:

Jobs and the Economy
In the past three years, the US economy has lost over three million jobs. That's an average of 90,000 jobs lost per month! Companies in the Second District, such as Goodyear Tire and Manufacturing, Flexel, and Dazy have been forced to eliminate positions because of unfair trade agreements--almost 1100 jobs from these companies alone! This isn't just an unavoidable downturn in the economy; it's the direct result of failed economic policies. I support fair trade agreements that encourage economic growth overseas without sacrificing Kansas jobs.

Jim Ryun has voted against raising the minimum wage, even while voting in favor of Congressional pay raises. I believe this is exactly the wrong set of priorities. I will fight to increase the minimum wage, increase unemployment assistance for laid off workers, and provide tax incentives to encourage new job growth in small and mid-size businesses.

Fiscal Responsibility 
I believe the national budget must be balanced before the government splurges on tax breaks that benefit primarily the wealthiest 1%. Especially during wartime, it is highly irresponsible to increase spending while recklessly cutting taxes--but that's exactly what Jim Ryun has done, contributing to the unprecedented ballooning of the national debt.

Health Care 
I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for most of the last decade, so I have first-hand knowledge of the challenges lower- and middle-income families face in gaining access to health insurance. I'll use this experience to confront these problems, to provide affordable prescription drugs to all seniors, and to re-shape the failed Medicare bill recently passed by the Republican Congress.

The public school system is one of the foundations of our great country. In recent years, however, decreased school funding, low teacher pay, and rigid federal mandates have created severe problems for our schools. These problems are intensified by voucher programs that strip money away from public schools, such as the program Jim Ryun voted for. In Congress, I will support legislation to return control of education to the local level and to fully fund the federal government's obligations to our schools.

As you can see, I'm running for Congress to restore moderate, common sense leadership to Washington. I hope you'll join me in this battle by volunteeringor contributing today.




"I don't have health care. If I paid for it, I would have just $100 left in my paycheck every two weeks, and I couldn't pay my bills. I support Nancy because she'll work to fix the health care system and to take care of the people of Kansas."

Alan Shald, Galena, KS

"We deserve to have Nancy Boyda in Washington representing the 2nd Congressional District of Kansas. When I met Nancy I said to myself, 'Finally, someone who understands the issues, can articulate her positions and will go to Washington to do what's right for all of us!' Her moderate positions on education, the economy and healthcare, I think, more truly reflect the values of the people of this district."

Eileen Larson, Lawrence, KS

"In these troubled times it is more important than ever that we have someone in Congress who can truly represent and work for the best interests of all people in the 2nd District of Kansas. Nancy Boyda is an intelligent and articulate person who cares deeply about doing what's right for all of us. Her management experience and personal grit will serve Kansas well in Congress."

Gil Zemansky, Lawrence, KS

"I was hoping the Democrats would find a quality candidate to run this year--but I never dreamed we'd be so lucky. This is the year, folks, and Nancy Boyda is going to carry the real voice of Kansans to Washington!"
Jan Garton, Manhattan, KS



Rep. Boyda Achieves Victory in Kansas’ 2nd District Out of Nowhere

By Lydia Gensheimer / NYTimes
Published: January 23, 2007

The following article, by’s Lydia Gensheimer, profiles one of the upset winners who helped boost the Democrats to a House majority in the current 110th Congress: Nancy Boyda, who took 51 percent of the vote to unseat five-term Republican Rep. Jim Ryun in Kansas’ 2nd District.

The story is the latest in an occasional series about Democratic House freshmen from politically competitive districts, what they are doing to steel themselves against future Republican challenges and what the GOP is planning as the party tries to reclaim at least some of these seats in the next national campaign.

Like many of the Democrats who captured Republican-held House seats last fall, Nancy Boyda of Kansas’ 2nd District ran a rematch campaign against Republican incumbent Jim Ryun that had a grass-roots flavor and a message that change was needed in a Congress then controlled by the GOP.

But Boyda’s victory, more than most of the Democrats’ takeover wins in 2006, appeared to come out of nowhere. Boyda — a former pharmaceutical company executive and former Republican — had raised more money for her initial 2004 run against Ryun, who nonetheless won a fifth term by a comfortable 15 percentage-point margin.

Even Democratic Party strategists were slow to acknowledge Boyda’s surge to the forefront last fall. Only at nearly the last minute did the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) intervene with a television ad accusing Ryun of voting against a $1,500 combat bonus for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan while approving of two pay raises for himself.

Boyda’s 51 percent to 47 percent win over Ryun rates as one of the year’s biggest upsets.

That, in turn, has earned the 51-year-old Boyda a spot high up on the preliminary 2008 target lists drawn by national Republican strategists, who note that President Bush cruised with 59 percent of the 2004 vote in the conservative-leaning eastern Kansas district.

Democratic leaders, though, have moved quickly to address Boyda’s potential vulnerability. She received assignments to the Agriculture and Armed Services committees, appointments that could carry political heft in a district that is home to sprawling farms and two major Army bases.

There is little doubt that the DCCC will keep a close eye on Boyda and offer a helping hand going into 2008.

But Boyda, who distanced herself somewhat from the national party and its liberal reputation during her 2006 bid, insists that she will run an independent campaign again in 2008.

Boyda ran a conventional campaign during her first run at Ryun in 2004, with high-powered advisors and significant backing from the national Democratic Party — and ended up getting defeated handily. In the rematch, she pledged to run things differently.

Boyda’s husband was her campaign manager and spearheaded a campaign that substituted yard signs and lengthy newspaper inserts for expensive and flashy television ads. While Boyda did not refuse contributions from political action committees, she did not actively seek help from the Democratic Party or PACs.

As a result, Boyda raised $750,251 for her 2006 campaign, compared to the $1.1 million she raised in 2004. But aided by the national anti-Republican trend, Boyda got much more bang for her buck in her second campaign.

“The 2004 campaign was very, very frustrating,” Boyda said. “I felt like the issues that I was talking about were very important to the 2nd District, and yet we hadn’t gotten that across. I felt like if we could get that message across to people and they still wanted Jim Ryun, that was fine. But I wanted to make sure that at least they had a clear choice.”

Burdett Loomis, a political science professor at the University of Kansas and longtime observer of state politics, said, “No one is going to write a textbook on this campaign. And yet, I do think that what it showed was she was serious about issues.”

Loomis took note of the old-fashioned flavor of Boyda’s campaign, including the yard signs — bearing the slogan, “Had Enough?” — that sprouted across the sprawling district. “It was more like she was running for city commission in 150 small towns than she was running for Congress,” Loomis said. “You drove around the district, in southeast or northeast Kansas, and you saw Boyda signs.”

Ryun, on the other hand, ran a traditional campaign, though one that has been described since as lackluster. Some observers said the incumbent gave off a vibe of disregarding Boyda as a credible threat.

But there was an issues element to Ryun’s downfall as well. He strongly supported the Bush administration on nearly all issues, including the war in Iraq. As opposition to the administration and war grew — even among some conservative voters in the district — Ryun increasingly was viewed as out of touch.

“Ryun was the most extreme ideologically as any of the Kansas Republicans and was ‘Yes, ma’am’ for Bush on a lot of the issues,” said Allan Cigler, also a political science professor at the University of Kansas. “And he didn’t have a very good reputation of constituent service.”

Ryun built a political career from the name ID he earned in the 1960s as a track star and former record holder in the mile run. But Joe Aistrup, head of the political science department at Kansas State University, said that as Ryun grew more comfortable with his re-election margins, he stopped returning home as frequently and was not a presence at events such as county fairs, which are important in a largely rural district such as the 2nd.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which runs the party’s national House campaign, also was blindsided by Boyda’s charge and did not run ads in the district.

• What’s the Middle in Kansas? While in part a personal achievement for Boyda, her win also fit in with a pattern of significant — and somewhat surprising — gains for centrist Democratic candidates in Kansas.

This, after all, is a state that was acerbically portrayed as in thrall to the Republican right, particularly social conservatives, in historian/author Thomas Frank’s 2004 book, “What’s the Matter With Kansas?”

But the Democrats prospered, in 2006 at least, from a long-running rift within state GOP ranks between hardline conservatives and more centrist-oriented Republicans. One of the latter, former state Republican Party Chairman Mark Parkinson, switched over and won for lieutenant governor as running mate to popular Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

Boyda benefited from the strength of other popular candidates on the Democratic ticket last year. Sebelius won re-election with an 18 percentage-point margin. Paul Morrison — a former Republican who was the district attorney from populous Johnson County in the suburbs of Kansas City — handily unseated Republican Attorney General Phill Kline, who had come under fire from moderates for his fiercely anti-abortion views.

“There was a reaction in Kansas this year to the excesses of the religious right embarrassing us nationally,” Cigler said.

Aistrup attributed at least 5 percent of Boyda’s vote to Sebilius’ and Morrison’s “coattails.” But he also credited Boyda for taking advantage of the tide that swept through Kansas.

“She did a very nice job of fitting into those prevailing winds,” Aistrup said.

“She made sure voters knew she was a former Republican and pro-business, and she did a very nice job of positioning herself as someone who was not a John Kerry liberal Democrat,” Aistrup added, referring to the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee who ran poorly in the 2nd District and statewide.

• GOP Takes Aim. Boyda acknowledges that she will face a tough re-election campaign in 2008, no matter the record she establishes as a freshman in Congress. Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, the new NRCC chairman, has repeatedly mentioned the 2nd District as a top target in 2008.

Kansas politics watchers say Boyda, to survive the coming Republican onslaught, must focus on local issues and establish a voting record reflective of a constituency that generally ranges in views from moderate to conservative.

“We’re not an excessively liberal crowd in the 2nd District,” Aistrup said. “She needs to do a good job of voting as moderate as the district is, and in that sense she’s going to need some help from the leadership in Congress. The Democratic leadership group is going to have to make sure they frame issues in such a way that someone like Boyda has a chance in a re-election campaign.”

Boyda also will have to ensure that she builds her name recognition in the district after a campaign in which she ran somewhat under the radar.

“She has to come back every week and really, really work at providing the kind of service that Ryun didn’t provide as much as most House members do,” Loomis said. “That’s just a necessary condition, not a sufficient one. She needs to raise enough money to keep potential opponents cautious in running against her, needs to show up in the Topeka paper and make sure people get a sense she is working for constituents.”

Boyda also will have to avoid more rookie mistakes such as one she made during her first week in office in early January, when she appeared to go a little far out on the limb over the issue of Iraq.

During an interview with Charles Gibson of ABC News, Boyda said she would vote to support funding for Bush’s proposed troop increase in Iraq because Bush is commander in chief. When Gibson suggested that the recent election results indicated voters desired a different direction in the war, Boyda responded, “They should have thought about that before they voted for President Bush not once, but twice.”

The comments drew criticism from some anti-war activists and Democrats who oppose Bush in general. Boyda has since apologized for the remarks, citing first-week jitters, but Aistrup said Boyda will need to be sure to avoid such gaffes in the future.

Just as Boyda appears to have benefited from the strong Democratic showing in Kansas last year, her re-election hopes may be influenced by the top of the ticket in the presidential year of 2008. If Democrats nominate a candidate who is acceptable to moderate and conservative voters in Kansas, Boyda could prosper. But if the Democratic nominee is viewed as much more liberal than the typical voter in the 2nd — often the case in recent presidential election — Boyda could be hampered.

The list of potential Republican House candidates runs long. Aistrup said Ryun himself is seriously considering a rematch. Whether Republicans will be willing to offer him another chance, or whether Ryun will decide to run again, is uncertain.

Boyda is adamant on one point, though. She contends her personal approach to campaigning was what got her elected, and says she intends to run the same way next time.

“I am going to run an independent campaign again, and I know it’s not going to be easy,” Boyda said. “The pressure will be intense to do it Washington’s way, but it’s just not me, and it’s not Kansas.”

© 2006 Congressional Quarterly