A conservative Democrat, Travis W. Childers, was seeking to wrest the open seat in the First Congressional District in northern Mississippi from Republicans who have held it since 1994. But Mr. Childers appeared to fall short, getting only 49 percent of the vote, according to The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson. The special election was to fill the unexpired term of Roger Wicker, who moved on to the Senate.
He fell short because you need 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff: the GOP candidate scored 46 percent. This in a district that went 62-37 for Bush over Kerry.
Childers didn't run as a liberal Democrat, of course:
At least in part, Mr. Childers was able to deflect Republican efforts to tie him to national Democratic figures held in deep suspicion here, like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. A nursing home owner as well as the chancery clerk, or county financial administrator, Mr. Childers, 50, styled himself a Mississippi Democrat, marking a distinction with the national party, which he said he disagreed with on some issues.
Nonetheless, coming after the loss of Dennis Hastert's seat (for a potpourri of reasons that included one of the worst Republican candidates now drawing breath), it's a little striking. The Republicans' House campaign committee spent $300,000 trying to keep this seat. And fresh in my inbox there's a message from the Club for Growth: It's entering the race in Louisiana's 6th, spending $100,000 for Woody Jenkins to hold a seat that should be no sweat for Republicans.
Don Cazayoux is a lot more liberal than he says. In the Legislature, when Kathleen Blanco wanted higher taxes, Cazayoux said yes. Higher income taxes, higher taxes on groceries, Cazayoux even voted to impose a hospital tax. But what would a vote for Don Cazayoux really mean? A vote for Cazayoux is a vote to increase Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi's liberal majority in Congress.
It's another reason I'm not so sanguine about the current poll leads for John McCain. The Republican brand is wrecked, the party's spending boatloads of cash to hold onto seats Bush carried by better than 20 points.