The DCCC has started running ads against Jim Ryun (Rep., KS-2), whose district I had mentioned a couple weeks ago as the site of a surprisingly competitive race (Chuck Todd of National Journal listed the race as 45-41 in favour of Ryun on 10/13).  (CQPolitics still lists it as safe Republican.)  Apparently, this one was so far off the radar that some national Dems joked that they didn’t know the name of their own candidate until very recently.  The Dems are certainly confident if they think they can afford to throw money at a relatively secure GOP district in Kansas, and the effort will probably force the NRCC to respond in kind.  Presumably the thinking behind this move is to make Republicans play defense in districts where they shouldn’t have to, sapping their resources for the more competitive races.  Ryun is probably safe, but this is a race they didn’t need to be thinking about at all at this point. 

Adding to the absurdity of this year’s election, the Journal-Star out of Lincoln, Nebraska reports that the NRCC may be about to enter into the Smith-Kleeb race in NE-3:

If the GOP congressional committee enters the race in the final 10 days of the campaign, it would be confirmation that poll numbers have uncovered a tight struggle between Republican nominee Adrian Smith and Democratic nominee Scott Kleeb. 

Kleeb, whom I dubbed the Boy Rancher from the River Platte, has put on a remarkable show and has made it a competitive race in what should be an impossible district for Democrats.  The district is still Republican favoured, but normally it would be rated invincibly Republican.  If he somehow managed to pull off an upset, his campaign could become the model for future Democratic efforts across the Plains states and the Midwest.  Then again, it could just be an indication of just how fed up people are with the national GOP in some of their most loyal of loyal states.  As columnist Dick Herman notes, there has been some rather amusing stunned and shocked reaction to the Omaha World Herald’s endorsement of Kleeb, including these lines from a Nebraska attorney and banker:

“The Omaha World Herald endorsed Scott Kleeb, a Democrat, for Congress in the Third District!
“Prepare for a deluge! Build an ark in your backyard!”

It is not quite that serious of a situation, but the sheer bizarreness of a Democrat running well in a Nebraska congressional race might convince some people that the end times are nigh for Republicans all over the country.