Democrat wins Mississippi special election
The South will rise again!
This was my favorite read on the special election:
The presidential primary in West Virginia was certainly a high-profile contest, but the eyes of the political world were largely focused further south, where a special election in Mississippi was poised to tell us a whole lot about the Republicans’ congressional strategy for 2008.
A few months ago, GOP congressional leaders came up with a sure-fire strategy for success. The Republican brand had fallen apart, but the party assumed it could persevere, especially in “red” districts, by nationalizing House races, calling Democratic candidates liberals, and connecting them to Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. What could possibly go wrong?
Republicans gave this a shot in March, in Illinois’ 14th. The GOP felt good about its chances — the district had been represented by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R), Bush won the district twice by double digits, and Republicans have held the seat for decades. But when voters headed to the polls, a Democrat won by six points.
They tried again in April, in Louisiana’s 6th. Once again, the GOP went into the race optimistic — Bush won the seat by 19 points in ‘04, and Republicans have dominated the district for decades. This time, the Democrat won by three points.
Republicans were committed to doing whatever it took to prevent their strategy from failing three times in three months. So, when it came time for yesterday’s special election in Mississippi’s 1st, a very Republican district, the GOP pulled out all the stops to hold onto it — pumping money into the race, sending male private part Cheney down to campaign, running a bunch of ads featuring Jeremiah Wright, and using robo-calls from McCain, Bush, and the First Lady.
The Democrat won by eight points.
Democrats scored a remarkable upset victory on Tuesday in a special Congressional election in this conservative Southern district, sending a clear signal of national problems ahead for Republicans in the fall.
The Democrat, Travis Childers, a local courthouse official, pulled together a coalition of blacks, who turned out heavily, and old-line “yellow dog” Democrats, to beat his Republican opponent, Greg Davis, the mayor of Southaven, a Memphis suburb. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, the vote was 54 percent for Mr. Childers to 46 percent for Mr. Davis.
The seat had been in Republican hands since 1995, and the district, largely rural and stretching across the northern top of Mississippi, had been considered one of the safest in the country for President Bush’s party, as he won here with 62 percent of the vote in 2004.
Given the results, it seems as if congressional Republicans are … what’s the word I’m looking for … screwed.
Merle Black, a Southern politics expert at Emory University, told the NYT that a Democratic in this district looks like “a huge upset, and an indication of a terrible year ahead for the Republicans.” He added, “In theory, this should be an easy win for them…. There are indications that the normal Republican turnout is just not there. If they can’t win up there, where are you going to win?”
Congressional Republicans are reportedly panicking behind the scenes, and honestly, I don’t blame them. Plan A was Boehner’s strategy about tying Dem candidates to Obama and Pelosi. This approach has gone 0-for-3 in three heavily Republican districts, the last of which the National Republican Congressional Committee spent nearly 20% of its entire bank account to keep. And here’s the kicker: there is no Plan B.
A GOP House leadership aide told the Politico last week that “if we don’t win in Mississippi, I think you are going to see a lot of people running around here looking for windows to jump out of.”
And with an eight-point margin, it wasn’t especially close.
NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) was so dejected, he didn’t even try to spin his failure: “[T]he political environment is such that voters remain pessimistic about the direction of the country and the Republican Party in general…. I encourage all Republican candidates, whether incumbents or challengers, to take stock of their campaigns and position themselves for challenging campaigns this fall by building the financial resources and grassroots networks that offer them the opportunity and ability to communicate, energize and turn out voters this election.”
In other words, the man responsible for overseeing House Republican campaigns nationwide just told every GOP candidate, “Good luck; you’re on your own.”
DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen responded to the results this way: “There is no district that is safe for Republican candidates.”
At first blush, that may sound like hyperbole. It’s not. If Dems can compete and win in these three districts, they can compete and win anywhere in the country. Republicans are not only left bloodied and confused; they’re also left with no answers about how to prevent a wholesale disaster in November.
From "There is no district that is safe for Republican candidates." at The Carpetbagger Report
I also read that this district is around the 110th most Republican district in the country (there are 199 R's in Congress as of today!). Yay yay yay...