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May 14, 2008
Loss in MS-01 Special House Race has GOP Reeling
Democrat Travis Childers won a solid victory over Republican Greg Davis in Mississippi's 1st Congressional district making it three special elections in a row held in Republican baliwicks that have flipped for the Democrats:A couple of caveats here. Special elections by their very nature favor the energized party when turnout is very low - in all three cases, the Democrats. In the general election, many more Republicans will turn out to vote and there is a good chance that all three seats will revert back to the GOP in the fall.
Childers, who beat Davis 49-46 three weeks ago but came up just shy of a race-ending majority, joins new Democratic Reps. Bill Foster (Ill.) and Don Cazayoux (La.) to give Democrats a trifecta of upsets in conservative House districts over the last two months.
The loss could send shockwaves through the Republican Party, where murmurs about a leadership shakeup have become more and more audible.
Democrats are backing up the assertion that they remain on the offensive in the cycle following a 30-seat gain, which has historically not been the case after a "wave" election.
Wicker's former district voted 62 percent for President Bush in 2004 and, by that measure, is one of the most conservative seats Democrats have taken from the GOP over the last 18 months, including the 2006 election.
Having said that, the Democrats ran three attractive, moderate candidates; pro-gun, fiscal hawks who will be tough to be beat. And they will be considerably better funded than their GOP counterparts in the fall as well.
The Republicans are in danger of suffering a similar defeat to the one they suffered in 2006 unless something drastic is done in the upper echelons of the party. Since that doesn't seem likely until after the coming debacle, party members will have to grin and bear it, watching as the Democrats probably pile up a huge majority in both the House and the Senate that will allow them to do pretty much whatever they want in the legislative arena.