Republicans Say Ouch in Mississippi
Republicans were already gloomy about the scenario facing their House candidates in the fall. But things got worse on Tuesday, when Democrat Travis Childers won a special election in a deep, dark red congressional district in Mississippi.
The district went for President Bush in 2004 by a whopping 62-37 margin, and, as Terence Samuel wrote in The American Prospect, it is "exactly the kind of district that Democrats are routinely forced to write off because it is so difficult to overcome the culturally tainted associations that come with being a Democrat."
The election was one of the contests I pointed to a couple of weeks ago, where Republicans ran ads that tied local Democratic candidates to Barack Obama, whom they painted as liberal and elitist. But the 8-point victory that Childers scored on Tuesday — and a similar Democratic win in another special election in Louisiana earlier in May — bodes ill for that strategy.
As Eric Kleefeld noted on TPM’s Election Central, the news was so grim that Tom Cole, chairman of the NRCC, didn’t even try to spin it. "We are disappointed in tonight’s election results. Though the NRCC, RNC and Mississippi Republicans made a major effort to retain this seat, we came up short," he said.
Cole acknowledged that voters are "pessimistic about the direction of the country and the Republican Party in general." His plan? "Republicans must undertake bold efforts to define a forward looking agenda that offers the kind of positive change voters are looking for. This is something we can do in cooperation with our Presidential nominee, but time is short."