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Democrats Complete Special Election Trifecta

Democrats have completed a trifecta of special election victories in GOP-held House seats, narrowly winning a hard-fought contest in Mississippi's 1st district Tuesday and raising the specter of an expanded playing field in November.

The Associated has called the contest for Democrats, and with 80 percent of the votes recorded, Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers (D) was leading Southaven Mayor Greg Davis (R), 51 percent to 49 percent, in the race to replace Roger Wicker (R), who has been appointed to the Senate.

Following on the heels of Democratic victories in special elections in Illinois' 14th district in March and Louisiana's 6th district 10 days ago, Republicans pulled out all the stops to try to hold on to Wicker's seat, which should be a GOP stronghold. President Bush won the district by 25 points in 2004; he won the Louisiana seat by 19 points and the Illinois seat by 11 points.

Vice President Cheney visited the district to drum up support Monday. The cash-strapped National Republican Congressional Committee shelled out at least $1.3 million on the contest -- more than it spent on the Illinois seat, which falls in the expensive Chicago media market -- and the conservative group Freedom's Watch also ran several hundred thousand dollars worth of ads.

But Democrats were able to match the GOP on the financial front, and Republicans' efforts to tar Childers as a typical liberal out-of-step with the district appear to have fallen flat. Davis ran ads attempting to tie Davis to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and the controversial words of his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. As was the case in the Louisiana special election, this tactic did not seem to work for the Republican candidate, bolstering the argument by Obama supporters that his presence at the top of the ticket will not be a hindrance downballot in conservative districts.

Childers focused his campaign on the concerns of rural voters and economic issues, with a particular focus on high gas prices. Anti-abortion and pro-gun rights, Childers was able to convince voters that he would represent their values despite GOP charges that he would be a tool of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

"What we need in Washington is a strong conservative congressman from Mississippi, not another Democrat going to bat for Nancy Pelosi," Cheney said during his appearance for Davis Monday.

Even before tonight's victory, Democrats were making the case that the closeness of the Mississippi race bodes poorly for other GOP candidates and incumbents in the fall. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee points out that "there are more than 40 Republican incumbent and Republican challenger districts with better Democratic performances" than in this seat.

In both Louisiana and Illinois, Republicans privately blamed their troubles on weak GOP candidates. But no such concerns were aired about Davis in Mississippi.

As for internal GOP politics, tonight's loss means another headache for NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.), who has drawn more than his share of criticism from colleagues -- including his fellow leaders -- for his stewardship of the party's campaign efforts. The NRCC had been badly outraised on the financial front and had suffered some high-profile recruiting failures, even before it lost three special elections. Cole's defenders point out that the national environment for Republicans and the party brand are simply terrible right now, no matter what the NRCC chairman does or doesn't do back in Washington.

By Ben Pershing  |  May 13, 2008; 10:29 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Hoyer Testifies on 'Stolen Vote'
Next: What Does It Mean?: Miss. Special Election


Let the Republican cowards sacrifice their man Cole. It won't save them now.
The cockroaches can scurry about, but the people's boot is coming down.

Posted by: kenonwenu | May 13, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Fire Boehner.

Posted by: GOP4Ever | May 13, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

GOP Leaders Warn Of Election Disaster
Sniping And Selfishness Decried As Wary Republicans Fear November Nosedive

'Shellshocked House Republicans got warnings from leaders past and present Tuesday: Your party's message isn't good enough to prevent disaster in November, and neither is the NRCC's money...

In a closed-door session at the Capitol, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told members that the NRCC doesn't have enough cash to "save them" in November if they don't raise enough money or run strong campaigns themselves.

And in a piece published in Human Events, the Republicans' onetime captain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, warned his old colleagues that they face "real disaster" on Election Day unless they move immediately to "chart a bold course of real reform" for the country.

"The Republican loss in Louisiana last Saturday should be a sharp wake-up call for Republicans," Gingrich wrote.

Gingrich said Republicans cannot rely on the popularity of Sen. John McCain to carry them to victory in November. And he warned that attacks on Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright could backfire.

"The Republican brand has been so badly damaged that if Republicans try to run an anti-Obama, anti-Rev. Wright or, if Sen. Clinton wins, anti-Clinton campaign, they are simply going to fail," Gingrich said. "This model has already been tested with disastrous results."'

Posted by: Bud0 | May 13, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Republicans are just too ashamed to vote. I would be, in their place.

Posted by: Kevrobb | May 13, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, o thou party of corruption, war-mongering, exploitation, bigotry, and plutocracy.

Come November, it tolls for THEE, the G.O.P!

Too long has this parasitic slice of America wrought its havoc upon the rest of us.

Too long have our leaders sown discord in their own house.

It is now beginning as a tiny breath, gasping to be free of these shackles of bad government, but when those impudent oppressors come seeking their harvest again this fall, they shall reap the whirlwind.

Posted by: Dan | May 13, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

With 94% of the vote in, the race isn't even close anymore. Childers won by 6 points.

Posted by: Steve | May 13, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Make that 8 points.

Posted by: Elizabeth | May 13, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the congessional elections will have coattails for Obama and not the other way around.

Posted by: Gator-ron | May 13, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Good news. If Democrats can beat them there, they can beat them anywhere.

Posted by: Kevin Morgan | May 13, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Republicans should get used to humiliating defeat for a long time. They did it all to themselves.

Posted by: Joseph Arrieta | May 13, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Yep, if I was wearing the republican banner right now, I would run and hide too. I am happy to see they lost trying to use Reverend Wright against the democratic candidate. I am so glad people are see this buffoon as just that, a buffoon not a spokesman for Senator Obama or any one else. Maybe they should try campaigning instead of stirring up negatives, negatives that have NOTHING to do with the issues facing everyday citizens. Good for the people of Mississippi! That is right, people are uniting to make America strong again and voting against a republican white house which will keep America weak. Good republican candidates are out of the race.

Posted by: CitizenAJ | May 13, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Not a close election: Childers wins 54-46% with 100% of precincts reporting.

Posted by: DC Voter | May 13, 2008 11:35 PM | Report abuse

What this means is the the GOP and McCain have no chance in the fall.

And since Obama has somehow managed to beat the Clintons and their slimy, race-baiting machine, this means that America will have its first African-American president, and he will have a healthy Dem majority.

Hot damn! Maybe we shall overcome after all....

Posted by: Lucky Lakeshore | May 13, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

You need to revise your copy. The Democrat won by 8 exactly "narrowly winning a hard-fought contest" you put it.

Posted by: Dan | May 13, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

It cracks me up that Darth thought he could swing this election. He is the most evil, hated man in the world, with his subordinate, our criminal-in-chief, running a close second. They both belong at The Hague, and hopefully will be there next year.

The Repukes have raped and pillaged our treasury with their greed and corruption. How can they possibly be surprised at these 3 election results? Just wait til November and every election cycle following that at every level in this country. Most of them won't even include their party in their ads. No wonder. They are despicable.

Posted by: capone1 | May 13, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Bravo, Mississippi..bravo

cash-strapped and demoralized GOP - good!

Posted by: LABC | May 13, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

The fact that the GOP breaks out heavy artillery in the form of one Dick Cheney, to influence this race is news.

Nice to see red state districts starting to come to their senses.

Another reason to suspect that the GOP is going to be taken out behind the wood shed by the voting public on election day.

Posted by: Charlie Timbsaw | May 13, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Hurray! The sooner we can get the spend-spend-spend Republicans out of town with their anything goes philosophy, the sooner we can get this country back on right track with American values and willingness to work hard for a dollar, rather than have it given out in Paris Hilton tax giveaways.

Posted by: NICK | May 13, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Historians will say 2008 produced a realignment election. Obama will trounce McCain, and the Democrats will attain a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate.

Bush and Cheney have killed the Republican brand. It's only poetic justice, after their theft of the 2000 election.

Posted by: harlemboy | May 13, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, GOP, I guess you can't steal 'em all...

Posted by: Impending Tsunami | May 13, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

The incumbent Republican members of Congress are like lobsters in a kettle that is fast coming to a boil. Less than six months to the greatest GOP train wreck since 1964.

These Bush-enabling vermin deserve everything they'll get in November. Too bad they'll have to look for jobs in the economy they let slide into the tank.

Posted by: reporter1 | May 13, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

" Davis ran ads attempting to tie Davis to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and the controversial words of his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. "


Posted by: Patrick Huss | May 13, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

This is big news of tonights elections.

Time to pick a candidate: NOW. Hillary or Obama, but now.

(superdelegates, are you listening?)

Posted by: kl | May 13, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

In a Republican stronghold, despite running Wright/Rezko/Ayers endlessly on TV/radio and push polls, Davis ended up right where he was three weeks ago--stuck at 46%. Travis Childers gained 5% from three weeks ago, from 49% to 54%. The Republican trash machine blew back their own feces.

But, alas, I don't expect this to discourage iowadispleasure, svrepeater or AngryWest at all. They still think their McCarthyism is working.

Posted by: infuse | May 13, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

I think you mean Davis ran ads tying Childers to Obama; not himself.

Posted by: Jon Morgan | May 13, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse


Gonna be a bloodbath for the filthy barbarians in November!

(Leave now!)

Posted by: kase | May 13, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

I was once a staunch Republican, but have migrated to Independent and will now vote Dem regularly. Why? The GOP party has been absolutely hijacked by people who have absolutely no thought for the average American. The Republicans are losing for the simple reason that most Americans disagree with their policies. Nothing complicated. GOP was once a great counterforce for the decrepit decades-long Democratic reign in Congress. But when they got into power they were actually worse than those they replaced. Ideology has replaced pragmatism and smart policy. Maybe they'll be back in 10 or 20 years, after the current crop of dittoheads and Fox-bots finish wrecking the party.

Posted by: JTS | May 14, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

When the best you could do was put a person into the highest office in the world that is an embarssment to eveyone when he talks, you have to expect what is happening. Bush Sr. and Reagan couldn,t cut the mustard when it came to performing unless it was pre scripted. Eight years from now I would pick a candidate with an IQ higer than 30 and you just might connect with the people. The days of cowboys ridding around in pic-ups are over. Thank goodness!!!

Posted by: winston707 | May 14, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Don't drop your guard and start celebrating November yet. Having a super delegate commit to either candidate really means nothing until they cast their vote at the convention in August. Hillary knows it's now or never for her and once the primaries are over she's going to stay in the race and lobby the super delegates behind the scenes right up to the convention vote.

Posted by: GL | May 14, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Folks (Dan), for all its faults, the GOP is not a party of bigotry. They're easy enough to kick around without throwing in this untruth. Lighten up.

Posted by: JTS | May 14, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

What the hell is Tom Cole supposed to do? He has been dealt a bad hand. All this finger-pointing is silly. There is one reason - and one reason only - that the GOP is tanking: George Bush.

Blaming Tom Cole is like blaming a rape victim. And in this analogy George Bush is the rapist.

Posted by: Don't Blame Cole... | May 14, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely - no matter who is in power. If the Dems take both houses veto-proofily as well as the Presidency they will soon become as corrupt as the GOP has been, and eight or 12 years from now the GOP will be back in charge. It's only human nature.

P.S.: I'm a lifelong member of the Cynic Party.

Posted by: Mikeaq | May 14, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans have been fooling all of the people all this time with such impunity that it is understandable they thought they could continue indefinitely what they do best: get folks to vote diametrically against their own self-interest.

The party of war, phony patriotism, blasphemous religiosity and cheeky unfairness (as demonstrated by Bush's class war against the have-nots in the guise of tax cuts for the rich) has finally met its match in the good people of Mississippi, Lousiana and Illinois.

Posted by: hollywoodog | May 14, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

The bottomline is that the GOP have no ideas... never have. Their whole agenda is no taxes, and war... and getting The People to vote against their best interests.
We're all seeing, now, what 28 years of cutting taxes does... everything is falling apart, the economy, the infrastructure, our credibility abroad, and most importantly, the Dollar.
Hopefully, soon the *trickle-down* *supply-side* economic garbage, will just be a bad memory.
The economy works best, when it's *trickle-up*... when the people have money to spend. Then, everyone from bottom to top, do well. As for supply-side, it's all about creating unneeded products, and trying to drum up demand. Rather than supplying what people actually want.
Let's hope another Presidential election isn't stolen.

Posted by: jon | May 14, 2008 12:33 AM | Report abuse

JTS, the GOP certainly is a party of bigotry. Anti-gay superstition is written into their platform.

Posted by: SL | May 14, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

It is refreshing to finally see the south act like grown-ups, to see the south vote for what is in their best interest, a cerebral vote, not visceral.

Republicans controlled all branches of government during the crash of 1929, followed by the "depression." With America's diminished credibility and security and our slogging toward another depression having investing in Bush's "three trillion dollar man - Saddam," it is time for "change" and "Hope!"


Posted by: Chagrined | May 14, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Democrats don't understand the country they live in. There won't be any lasting change starting this November, it's just that most people want the US out of Iraq, so they are voting as many Democrats into office as possible.

Once the US is out of Iraq, the country will go back to voting for the Republicans, which it has been doing for a long time. Why? Because most people like low taxes. That's a constant that will never change. But the Democrats will never understand that, and so will be consigned to second-fiddle again, probably after Obama's first term.

Posted by: JamesInSeattle | May 14, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans have been loyal to their leader(s)and are now paying the price; but careful people. Childers is not a liberal of the Obama mode as the Republicans attempted to brand. As stated he is anti-abortion, pro-gun and probably holds a number of positions considered unacceptably conservative by many in the Democratic fold.

As Cole implied, conservatism is now being co-opted by the Demos. The Democratic party is now moving toward the Right, not the Left in the vacuum left by economic incompetence. How this will play-out for the party (and the nation) remains to be seen.

Posted by: emca | May 14, 2008 1:00 AM | Report abuse

This the third time the R's have lost a safe seat where they accused their opponent of being like (play scary music) Barack Obama (gasp)!!!

No Republican can be elected president in '08. They've screwed things up SO badly. Their hypocrisy, their incompetence, their slavish devotion to the child Bush. They'll spend 40 years in the political wilderness for worshiping false idols.

Posted by: thebob.bob | May 14, 2008 1:05 AM | Report abuse

"[People vote Republican.] Why? Because most people like low taxes. That's a constant that will never change."

I, too, would love to join you for a free ride if Bill Gates would pick up the tab. Alas, as it is, the Republican "low tax" binge is going to be billed, with usurious interest, to my children, your children and theirs. No, thanks.

Posted by: hollywoodog | May 14, 2008 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Republicans have absolutely ruined this country for generations to come as the bills come due for several decades for W's war machine and the money grab by their henchman like the oil barons and Haliburton.

When the Congressional inquires begin on your idiot W and Cheney, and all of their cronies who have lived high off of the government payrolls and government "outsourcing", the 20% of you who still believe they are wonderful better flee to South America with them (like the third reich).

Regardless of who will be the Democratic nominee, your Repub nominee McCain is toast and so are many of those running for congressional and state-wide's going to be a steam-roller.

Let the prison sentences begin.

Posted by: JC | May 14, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

After 8 years of Bush & Buddies, it is definitely a time for change. To this life long Republican, until the last 4-5 years, I now see the light at least with this Administration. Obama offers hope and I am willing to accept the fact he can bring the country together and we can start moving forward. It will take time to get out of the quagmire that Bush & Buddies have created, but, we will survive. Many Republicans will not after November and all I have to say is "Good Riddance."

Posted by: Noble Dog | May 14, 2008 1:18 AM | Report abuse

The real news is that Pro-life Democrats can win anywhere. The new Congressmen should make it their first order of business to co-sponsor the Pregnant Women Support Act of Rep. Lincoln Davis and more than 30 other pro-life Democrats. It would meet the pro-life expectations of their constituents by helping pregnant women get the help they need and thus reducing abortions.

Posted by: Brian | May 14, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

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