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Kansas: Ryun Poll Shows Him With GOP Primary Lead

A poll released Wednesday by former Rep. Jim Ryun showed him with a 61 percent to 27 percent lead over state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins in a hypothetical 2nd district Republican primary matchup, although the two-day survey of 259 likely primary voters had a high 6.2-point margin of error.

Ryun, who is angling to oust Rep. Nancy Boyda (D) and get his old job back, must first get past Jenkins, who won re-election as treasurer in November. Ryun has been campaigning since December; Jenkins has yet to get her organization off the ground, although her campaign manager is set to begin working on June 4.

“We are certainly pleased with the results of the poll, but we will not rest on our laurels,” Ryun said in a statement.

According to Ryun’s poll, conducted May 8-9 by Public Opinion Strategies, the former Congressman led the treasurer in name identification in the eastern Kansas 2nd district, 92 percent to 41 percent. The survey also revealed Ryun to have a better favorability rating than Jenkins, 71 percent to 37 percent.

In a category the poll labeled as surveying those voters who “know and like Jenkins,” she narrowly led Ryun 50 percent to 43 percent, while Ryun was favored among those voters who “know and like” him, 80 percent to 12 percent.

— David M. Drucker

Whitehead Ad Strategy Goin’ to the Dawgs

After casually mentioning his days playing football for the University of Georgia in his first radio ad, 10th district Republican candidate Jim Whitehead went for the all-out blitz with Dawgs fans in his latest spot that began running this week.

The ad features legendary Bulldog announcer Larry Munson offering a rare political endorsement of the former state Senator.

“Hello, Dog fans. This is Larry Munson,” he says in the new 60-second spot. “We’re down to the wire in this election for Congress and conservative Republican state Senator Jim Whitehead, former Georgia Bulldog offensive lineman, is looking doggone good.”

Whitehead is the prohibitive frontrunner in the special election to succeed the late Rep. Charlie Norwood (R), whose name and memory the candidate evokes again in his second radio ad.

Whitehead, who has stumbled several times over controversial comments during the campaign, drew criticism last week after he told a political Web site that Iraq “has not been a big thing in our district.”

He later clarified that what he meant was when he asks people in the district what their biggest concern is, they’re more likely to say illegal immigration than Iraq.

The all-party special election will be held June 19.

— Lauren W. Whittington

Schaffer Shaking the Cup in D.C. This Week

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R) has been in Washington, D.C., this week holding a series of fundraisers, including one at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, as he seeks to get his nascent campaign for Senate off the ground and catch up financially to Rep. Mark Udall, the likely Democratic nominee.

Schaffer, who hopes to succeed retiring Sen. Wayne Allard (R), hedged for months on his interest in the race before finally jumping in earlier this month. He has hired Pat Fiske to manage his campaign, although Fiske in an interview declined to disclose who else has been brought on to advise the former 4th district Congressman.

Fiske managed Schaffer’s Senate primary campaign in 2004, which ended in a loss to beer magnate Pete Coors (R).

Udall closed the first quarter of this year with $1.5 million in the bank. The likely matchup between Schaffer and Udall is expected to be heavily targeted by both national political parties.

— D.M.D.

Suburban Mayor Eyes Challenge of Ex-Mayor

Parma Mayor Dean DiPiero is considering challenging Rep. Dennis Kucinich in next year’s Democratic primary, several Ohio media outlets have reported in recent days.

DiPiero, a former state House Minority Leader, told The Columbus Dispatch that he isn’t sure if Kucinich would be vulnerable in a primary, even though the six-term Congressman is making his second quixotic White House bid this election cycle.

Coincidentally, DiPiero, 38, is the youngest mayor in the history of his suburban city — the same feat Kucinich achieved when he was elected mayor of Cleveland at the age of 31 back in 1977.

— Josh Kurtz

Burton Starts His Engines in Washington, Not Indy

Rep. Dan Burton (R) was scheduled to host his annual “Start Your Engines” campaign kickoff at the Associated General Contractors offices on Capitol Hill on Wednesday night.

The racing-themed fundraiser, tied to the annual running of the Indianapolis 500 over the Memorial Day weekend, cost a minimum of $500 to attend. Partygoers were expected to be fed barbecue.

Burton, who is seeking his 14th term, faces a potentially competitive Republican primary challenge from former Marion County Coroner John McGoff.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Pence (R) is holding a $1,000-a-ticket fundraiser Friday afternoon at the actual Indianapolis Motor Speedway, site of the famous race. The race track happens to be in the district of Rep. Julia Carson (D), though Burton’s district does take in part of Indianapolis.

— J.K.

Kuhl Keeps On Trucking With Industry Fundraiser

Rep. Randy Kuhl (R) is throwing a fundraising luncheon for the transportation industry this afternoon at the American Trucking Association’s Capitol Hill offices.

Kuhl, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is bringing in Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.), a senior member of the committee, as his headliner.

Tickets for the event cost $500 for individuals and $1,000 for political action committees.

Kuhl, who took in just over 50 percent of the vote in each of his first two House elections, is likely to be a major target of national Democrats this election cycle. Two Democrats already are competing for the right to take him on: 2006 nominee Eric Massa, a retired Navy commander, and David Nachbar, an executive at Bausch & Lomb, the eye-care company.

— J.K.

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