Three items to report today:
* Republicans lost their third special election to fill a vacant GOP seat, this one in Mississippi. Conservative Democrat Travis Childers defeated Republican Greg Davis, by 54% to 46%, in Mississippi’s first congressional district, which covers all of the Tennessee border counties and much of northeast Mississippi. The seat became vacant when Republican incumbent Roger Wicker was named to the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Trent Lott. George W. Bush carried the district with 62% in 2004. Childers was a pro-gun rights, anti-abortion candidate. Davis, a small-town mayor, tried unsuccessfully to tie his opponent to Barack Obama. The loss of the seat is symbolically important, because it dropped the Republicans below 200 seats in the House of Representatives.
The Washington Post story cites a divisive GOP primary as one of the factors in Davis’s defeat. The Jackson Clarion-Ledger had this report on the Republican primary: Glen McCullough [who began the primary as the favorite] ran an ad stating that Davis “doesn’t know where he stands,” charging that Davis “refused to run as a Republican” in the past, increased spending, and altogether, is not a true conservative. “Now Davis says he’ll be conservative? Come on,” the voice-over charged in the commercial. Davis responded with his own ad labeling McCullough’s “attacks” as “shameful.” But Davis hit out at McCullough in the same ad, aligning him with Democrats by noting that President Bill Clinton first appointed McCullough to serve on the [Tennessee Valley Authority board]. Davis accused McCullough of living lavishly while in his TVA post while laying off workers and increasing electric costs. “Glen McCullough should be ashamed,” the ad concluded.
Texans will recognize the “not a true conservative” refrain. Meanwhile, as the Post noted, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $1.8 million to elect a candidate whose position on social issues is not in the mainstream of his party. It amazes me that Republicans continue to fight among themselves over ideology when the enemy is storming the gates. The DCCC has raised $44 million for the fall elections, their Republican counterparts just $7 million.
* Rasmussen’s party ID poll shows Democrats with the largest lead over Republicans in the six-year history of the poll. Here are the end-of-April numbers (based on 15,000 phone calls per month), followed by the writeup:
Percent identifying themselves as Democrats: 41.4
Percent identifying themselves as Republicans: 31.4
Percent identifying themselves as Independents: 27.2
In April 07, the Democrats’ advantage was 36.5%-31.0%.
The widening gender gap is also significant.
Percent of women identifying themselves as Democrats: 45
Percent of women identifying themselves as Republicans: 30
In December the D vs. R ratio for women was 40:33.
I don’t believe for one minute that Texas is exempt from these trends.
* And the president’s approval rating of 32% is the lowest in the history of the poll.