Jim Ryun's toughest race was his general election contest in 1996, thefirst time he sought political office. After he emerged from a three-person Republican primary, Ryun found himself locked in a tightbattle with Democrat John Frieden, a prominent Topeka attorney. Political opponents even made an issue of a magazine article he wrotewith his wife about how they had their children follow old-fashioned courtship customs, but Ryun garnered 52 percent of the vote.
In each of his three re-election campaigns since then, Ryun has received 60 percent or more of the vote.
But campaign finance reports for the first quarter of 2004 suggested that Ryun could face a tough challenge from Democrat Nancy Boyda. Boyda raised more than $174,000 and loaned herself an additional $100,000. During the same period, Ryun raised about $93,000, but he had more than $380,000 in cash on hand at the end of the quarter.