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Republicans have made several maneuvers, including scheduling a special election to fill the empty seat for the final two months of this Congress, which means voters will see Mrs. Sekula-Gibbs’ name on at least one ballot.

Mr. Bush’s visit, following an earlier one by Vice President Dick Cheney, is designed to boost her name recognition so voters will remember to write her in.

One indication of the challenge is Mrs. Sekula-Gibbs’ name. She hyphenates it, but the most common electronic voting machine used in this district doesn’t allow a hyphen for a write-in, so she’s changed her Web site and campaign signs to drop the hyphen. Still, the legacy is tough to change — some of those at yesterday’s rally wore stickers with the name still hyphenated.