Wednesday, April 23, 2008

An Alarm Bell Goes Off For GOP in Mississippi

In yet another alarming sign for the GOP's prospect's this fall, last night Democrats came within an inch of stealing one of the most Republican districts in the Deep South. In the special election to replace now-Senator Roger Wicker in Mississippi's 1st Congressional District, Democrat Travis Childers fell just 400 votes short of the 50% plus one mark, which would have avoided a run-off and won the seat outright.

Still, Democrats are ecstatic that their candidate won 2,000 more votes overall than the Republican candidate, Southaven Mayor Greg Davis. With 100% of precincts reporting, Childers won 49.4% to Davis' 46.3%. Furthermore, when Childers' vote total is combined with the votes from the other Democrat on the ballot yesterday, Steve Holland, Democratic candidates garnered 50.6%.

That's no small feat in a district that should have been should have been an easy save for the GOP; Wicker won his first election in 1994 with 63% of the vote and only dipped below the two-thirds mark in the 2006 election, when he won 66%. President Bush won the area, based in the northwest quadrant of the state, with 62% in 2004, a twenty-five point margin.

"Mississippi's First Congressional District is ruby red, and the fact that Travis Childers won 2,000 more votes and two-thirds of the district's counties is a major problem for Republicans now and heading into November," Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Kyra Jennings told Real Clear Politics.

Republicans blamed Davis' poor showing on a bitter GOP primary. Davis beat his Republican challenger, Glenn McCullough, the former mayor of Tupelo, by just 500 votes out of 32,000 cast, while Childers bested Holland by 14 points. On his website, Holland posted an open letter offering unqualified support for Childers, while McCullough, in a statement, urged Republicans to unite behind GOP candidates...

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