by Jonathan Singer, Sat May 03, 2008 at 07:42:58 PM EDT
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.