Cheers from Cotton Mouth and an update on MS-01

First a big shout out to MyDD for their front page links to our coverage at Cotton Mouth of MS-01.

We are in a street fight down here.  Travis Childers has an oppurtunity to lay claim for the Democratic Party a congresssional district that voted 62% for Bush in 2004.  He is up against Republican Greg Davis who has offered nothing but vicious attack ads.  

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Don Cazayoux's Win Was Good For Republicans

Isn't it always?

In this case, the NRCC has managed to turn lemons into lemonade, spinning Cazayoux's 3 point win in LA-06 on Saturday as a disappointment for the Democrat who was up by 9 and 7 in the final 2 polls of the district. Specifically, the desperate NRCC is touting its ads tying Cazayoux to Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi as the reason for the gap's closing and putting Democrats on notice.

From CQ:

While hailing the simultaneous special election victory by Republican state Sen. Steve Scalise in the overwhelmingly Republican 1st District in and near New Orleans, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) contended that Cazayoux was actually a strong favorite to win the 6th District seat, despite its usual Republican tilt.

The NRCC continued that it had cut deeply into the supposed lead held by Cazayoux by running ads that sought to tie him to more liberal Democratic leaders such as Illinois Sen. Barack Obama , the front-running candidate for the party's presidential nomination, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.

"This should come as a warning shot to Democrats," the NRCC said in a post-election press release. "The elitist behavior of the Democratic front-runner and the liberal and extremist positions that he and his fellow Democrats in Congress have staked their claim to, do not appear to be as salient as they once hoped."

Pretty hilarious. They actually seem to believe their own BS or at the very least they're just showing their plumage for donors who've lost faith in the committee. Either way though, there's no doubt what the NRCC's 2008 plan for tough races in red districts is going to be, whether Barack Obama wins the nomination or not. I say bring it on.

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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."

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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
DCCC$10,110,960.72$3,812,233.01$44,320,511.18$0
NRCC$7,100,525.71$5,064,243.78$7,170,486.91$0
DNC$5,988,279.13$5,433,437.21$5,311,747.86$0
RNC$15,366,745.54$9,296,497.49$31,073,010.35$0
Total
Democrats
$24,299,239.85N/A$87,432,259.04$0
Total
Republicans
$26,667,271.25N/A$55,543,497.26$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.

House GOPers Will Not Heed Boehner's Call for Cash

More tough times over at the National Republican Congressional Committee. Here's The Hill's Alex Bolton:

Senior Republicans have ignored the impassioned plea of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) that they help the party raise more money for the November election.

While the ranking Republicans of several committees have given tens of thousands of dollars to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), others have given nothing or very little.  

[...]

Boehner's impatience with his colleagues may be explained in part by the enthusiastic response Democratic leaders have received from members of their caucus. This year alone, many rank-and-file Democrats have given significantly more money than some ranking Republicans.

This isn't a new problem for House Republicans. As long back as five months ago, and even earlier than that likely, House GOP Leader Boehner has been futilely asking his members to pony up their campaign cash, which they have refused to do. With effectively no prospect of regaining the majority this cycle and little hope of retaking the House any time soon, Republicans in the chamber feel little drive to contribute to their combined effort (a fact that actually compounds the problem as it makes it even less likely that the party will be able to take back seats from the Democrats). Indeed, as of the end of February, the last point through which we have numbers on all of the parties' campaign committees, the NRCC faced more than a $34 million hole in relation to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee when debts and obligations are taken into account. So with an inability to get their own members to contribute and a depressed base, these remain dire days for the House Republicans.

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