Initial Thoughts on Cazayoux's Huge Win

Some initial thoughts...

  • There is no overstating it: This was a huge win for the Democrats. This was a district that had been in Republican hands for decades, one that tends to lean about 7 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in presidential elections (or at least did before Hurricane Katrina). In short, this was a district that the Republicans should have been able to win but simply couldn't.

  • If the Republicans can't win here, where are they going to be able to win in November? Seriously. If Democrats are winning districts that are this red -- they now in fact hold seven districts with a similar lead to the Republicans' 6 -- and are competitive in even redder districts like Mississippi's first, which leans 10 points more Republican than the nation as a whole, the Democrats' advantage in House elections nationwide might actually be larger than previously expected by some.

  • Don Cazayoux will be a better Congressman than Woody Jenkins, or the previous incumbent Richard Baker. Yes Cazayoux will be on the right end of the Democratic caucus in the House. Nevertheless, he will undoubtedly be more progressive than either the Republican he was running against or the Republican he is replacing. As such, if you want to help keep him in Congress past January, head over to Act Blue to contribute to his reelection campaign today.

  • The attacks linking Cazayoux to Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama didn't work. They simply didn't. Yes, the Republicans pulled in more votes and a greater share of the vote than they did last month in the first round of balloting. So what. This is a very Republican district and yet despite of this lean and the fact that the GOP tried to make this election about Jeremiah Wright, they still lost.

    This race was very much put forward by the chattering class as a referendum on Obama's coattails (which proved to be strong in the very Republican-leaning Illinois 14th congressional district earlier this year), and Obama's coattails passed the challenge. Simply put, the Republicans may have thought they had found a silver bullet in Obama and Wright (and Pelosi, too, for that matter), but they didn't.

    And just to add one more thing... If Obama has positive coattails (or at least doesn't have negative ones) when he is mercilessly attacked in the paid media in a district (as well as the national establishment media) and yet the Democrat tied to him nevertheless pulls an upset and wins in a Republican-leaning district even without Obama even attempting to defend himself there, doesn't that kind of undercut the notion that Obama is unelectable? That he doesn't have coattails? ...?

This was a huge win tonight. Now we move on to Mississippi's first congressional district, where you can help Travis Childers and the Democrats pull off another super-upset by contributing to his campaign through ActBlue.

There's more...

NY-13: GOP Cong. Vito Fossella Arrested

From The Washington Post:

Rep. Vito J. Fossella (R-N.Y.) was arrested overnight in Alexandria and charged with driving while intoxicated, court records showed today.

Fossella is scheduled to appear in Alexandria General District Court on May 12 for an advisement hearing, the records said.

No other details were immediately available.


Fossella was elected to Congress in a special election to represent the 13th Congressional District of New York in November 1997, according to a biography on his Web site. The district includes Staten Island and the Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and the Bensonhurst and Gravesend neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

Being arrested for a DUI isn't necessarily a political death-knell for an incumbent -- but neither is it terribly good news, particularly when that incumbent is potentially vulnerable. Fossella won reelection in 2006 with about 57 percent of the vote, so he isn't necessarily in terrible shape coming into this election cycle. However, New York's 13th congressional district, which he represents, tends to lean about 1 point more Democratic than the nation as a whole in presidential elections, so this year being a presidential election year doesn't augur particularly well for Fossella's hopes. Throw in a DUI and this race may now be on the map.

At this point, there are a couple of Democrats looking at this race: 2006 nominee Steve Harrison and Brooklyn City Commissioner Domenic Recchia. Recchia, in particular, looks like a formidable candidate, having raised more than $350,000 to this point. In fact, Recchia has more in the bank than Fossella as of the last filing period. So definitely chalk this up as one to keep an eye on...

There's more...

Republicans Are In Serious Trouble

Last night, in a special election to fill the remaining term of Republican Roger Wicker, who moved up to the Senate when GOP Senator Trett Lott stepped down, Democrat Travis Childers received about 49.4 percent of the vote. When his vote was combined with that of Democratic state Rep. Steve Holland, who (in short) tried futilely to have his name removed from the ballot, the Democratic vote amounted to 50.6 percent of the overall count.

Why would this be important? Simple: Mississippi's first congressional district, where this election was held, is very Republican. According to the Cook PVI, the district tends to lean about 10 percentage points more Republican than the nation as a whole in presidential elections. What's more, the National Republican Congressional Committee spent about twice as much on the race than did the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee -- despite the fact that the DCCC has $37 million more in the bank than the NRCC.

Childers unfortunately will not go straight to Congress, as he would have had he received 410 more votes, or about 0.7 percentage points more of the vote. Instead, because no candidate received 50 percent of the vote, plus one, there will be a runoff election held in the district on May 13.

Make no mistake, however: This was a major win for the Democratic Party and an even larger loss for the GOP. If a Republican is unable to crack 50 percent -- or indeed even receive a plurality of a vote -- in a special election in a very Republican district in a very Republican state when national Republicans spend twice as much money as national Democrats, how are they seriously supposed to be able to compete in November? Even more in the short run, if the NRCC is in a big money hole, how are they going to be able to defend this seat, as well as the open GOP seat in Louisiana's sixth congressional district which is now rated as leans Democratic (despite its Cook PVI of R+7), without once again falling into debt, thus hampering the party's efforts down the road?

Basically, the GOP now faces a choice between going for broke trying to save two more very Republican congressional districts from flipping to the Democrats before November and saving money in the hopes of being able to save such districts in November -- and even if the party opts to spend the money now, there's no guarantee that they will be successful (note their loss in the Republican-leaning Illinois 6 14 district earlier this year despite the NRCC's major investment in the race). And as Matt Stoller aptly and succinctly put it, "No one likes Republicans, even in R+10 districts."

There's more...

MS-01 Special Election Results Thread

Here are the results out of the special election in Mississippi's first congressional district, which was left open by Roger Wicker's move up to the Senate:

Note: This one's going to a May 13 runoff -- very exciting stuff given the hard Republican slant of the district (and the fact that the two Democrats in the race combined to receive more than 50 percent of the vote).

Travis Childers (D): 33,138 votes (49.4 percent)
Greg Davis (R): 31,066 (46.3 percent)

100 percent of precincts reporting (as of 11:16 PM Eastern)

Note, this is an R+10 district, according to the Cook Political Vote Partisan Voting Index, meaning the district tends to lean about 10 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in presidential elections. If this margin holds -- and I'd underscore that it's still quite early -- this would be a huge upset.

Update [2008-4-22 21:6:50 by Jonathan Singer]: There are other candidates in the race, so the totals listed above add up to less than 100 percent of the vote. If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff held. However, here's to hoping that Childers stays above that magic mark...

Update [2008-4-22 21:28:52 by Jonathan Singer]: Wow. This 10-point margin has been holding up for a long while. There are still a lot of votes to count, but if Childers pulls this off...

Update [2008-4-22 21:35:31 by Jonathan Singer]: Tightened up quite a bit here. Remember, as long as neither candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff.

Update [2008-4-22 22:2:1 by Jonathan Singer]: Tightening up again. Davis' lead had been 52-44 recently, now it's back to 50-46. A real nail-biter.

Update [2008-4-22 22:8:2 by Jonathan Singer]: Davis is back under 50 percent. Looks like we may be headed to a runoff -- and a competitive one, at that.

Update [2008-4-22 22:25:47 by Jonathan Singer]: Childers has retaken the lead. Any chance yet he can get back above 50 percent? Here's to hoping (though forcing a runoff in an R+10 district is still an accomplishment)...

Update [2008-4-22 22:53:57 by Jonathan Singer]: It looks like this one is going to a runoff. What an achievement! This was an overlooked special election in a district that tends to lean about 10 points more Republican than the nation as a whole. And yet, the leading Democratic candidate received 49 percent of the vote, and the two Democratic candidates in the race have received just north of 50 percent of the vote, combined, with 99 percent of precincts in. I say once again, these are horrible days for the Republican Party.

There's more...

Dem Committees Hold $32 Million CoH Advantage Over GOP

It's the 20th of April today, so that means it's that time of the month again: Time to look at the campaign finance filings for all six of the parties' campaign committees.

CommitteeMarch ReceiptsMarch DisbursementsMarch Cash-on-HandMarch Debts & Obligations
DSCC (est.) $8,200,000.00N/A$37,800,000.00$0
NRSC (est.)$4,200,000.00N/A$17,300,000$0

Interestingly enough, this is actually the fourth straight month in which the three Republican campaign committees combined have managed to outraise the three Democratic campaign committees combined. Over these four months, the Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee have raised a combined $82,848,883.92 to the $72,185,156.45 raised by the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee -- better than a $10.6 million advantage.

During this time, however, the Democratic committees' net cash-on-hand advantage over the GOP committees actually grew from $28,777,997.81 at the end of November to $31,888,761.78 today. That means that over the past four months, the Republicans have effectively wasted close to $14 million -- spending that much more than the Democrats -- to little avail. The Republicans couldn't hold on to the congressional seat vacated by former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert; It looks like they're having an awfully difficult time defending the congressional seat they must defend in a special election down in Louisiana -- all of this while frittering away millions and millions of dollars.

Now is there room to grow, room for the Democrats to do a better job in the fundraising department? There's always room to do better. Specifically, it would be preferable if the DNC weren't outraised by the RNC by a $9.4 million margin. That said, all in all, the fact that the Democratic committees have close to $32 million more in the bank than the Republican committees leaves little to really complain or worry about at this juncture.


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