MS-01: Virtual Phonebanking for Democrat Travis Childers

Do it now!

We need your help with a critically-important special election that could increase our Democratic House Majority on May 13th.

In Mississippi's 1st Congressional District, we are closing in on what could be our third straight special election win that turns a red seat blue. Our candidate, Travis Childers is running neck-and-neck in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Roger Wicker.

Can you spare some time today to call fellow Democrats and encourage them to vote?

Click here to start

Polls close at 8:00 PM Eastern, so get to it now if you can. This is a win-win situation for the Democrats. Forcing the National Republican Congressional Committee to spend money it didn't have to spend on a race in a district that leans 10 points more Republican than the nation as a whole is a win in and of itself. But putting Travis Childers in Congress would be an even sweeter victory. So start making calls now.

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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.

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Update [by Jonathan Singer]:Here are the results from District 6:

2,961-vote margin for Cazayoux

Woody Jenkins (R): 46,741 votes (46.27 percent)
√ Don Cazayoux (D): 49,702 votes (49.20 percent)

512 of 512 precincts (100.0 percent) reporting as of 11:19 PM Eastern

Update [2008-5-3 23:22:46 by Jonathan Singer]: For those interested, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Chris Van Hollen have both posted statements over at The Stakeholder.

Update [2008-5-3 23:19:55 by Jonathan Singer]: With all 512 precincts within the sixth congressional district of Louisiana reporting, Democrat Don Cazayoux has beaten Republican Woody Jenkins by a 2,961-vote margin. Barring a recount with some wild results (and I can't see a reason to believe that's in store here), this should just about do it folks. More thoughts to come in a subsequent thread...

Update [2008-5-3 22:53:32 by Jonathan Singer]: I haven't seen it officially called yet, but with just 4 precincts reporting and Cazayoux up by more than 3,000 votes, it looks like the Democrats have likely picked up their second House seat previously held by a Republican this year, a huge feat. Hoo-ah!

Update [2008-5-3 22:53:32 by Jonathan Singer]: Cazayoux has jumped out to better than a 2,000-vote lead with nearly four-fifths of the vote in -- his first lead in a long time. With all of the precincts remaining to report coming out of East Baton Rouge parish, things are not looking too bad for Cazayoux. Stick around for more updates, though...

Update [2008-5-3 22:30:15 by Jonathan Singer]: Oh the ups and downs. Jenkins' lead is back up to 2,000 votes again with about 70 percent of the vote in. Still, all but one of the remaining precincts still waiting report are in East Baton Rouge, so anything can happen...

Update [2008-5-3 22:30:15 by Jonathan Singer]: Jenkins' lead is under 1,000 votes for the first time in a long while tonight. This thing is tightening up a lot.

Update [2008-5-3 22:30:15 by Jonathan Singer]: Is the bottom falling out of Jenkins' lead? It just fell by about two-thirds with 60 percent of the vote in. Almost all of the vote remaining comes from East Baton Rouge parish, which, again, tends to be better for the Democrats than the Republicans. This could be a nail-biter.

Update [2008-5-3 22:3:27 by Jonathan Singer]: Jenkins' lead is still holding with approaching 50 percent of precincts reporting. This isn't looking terribly good at this juncture, but there are still a lot of votes to be had...

Update [2008-5-3 21:58:14 by Jonathan Singer]: Jenkins' lead has jumped up once again and now sits at about 3,000 with a little more than a third of the vote in. Only 10 percent of East Baton Rouge parish, where the Democrats received about 6,000 more votes than the Republicans during the first round of balloting, has reported, however, so these numbers are still likely to continue to jump around.

Update [2008-5-3 21:54:59 by Jonathan Singer]: Oop. Jenkins' lead just fell by more than 50 percent, underscoring the fact that these numbers are likely to jump around. Stick around here at MyDD, though, for running updates.

Update [2008-5-3 21:54:59 by Jonathan Singer]: Jenkins lead has grown to nearly 2,300 votes with about an eighth of the vote in. Still a lot of precincts remaining, particularly from Democratic-friendly East Baton Rouge parish, so this one isn't over by any means.

Update [2008-5-3 21:47:19 by Jonathan Singer]: With about 10 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Woody Jenkins has taken about a 700-vote lead (down about 100 votes from a few minutes ago). It's still very early, however, so we must stay tuned.


Polls in Louisiana close at 9pm EDT in two special congressional elections. In LA-01, Democrat Gilda Werner Reed is taking on Republican Steve Scalise and in LA-06, Democrat Don Cazayoux is taking on Republican Woody Jenkins. LA-06 is the only one of the two that looks competitive for the Democrat, which means not only could we have one more vote to add to our majority, but also one more superdelegate at the convention (you knew it had to connect to the presidential somehow.)

Swing State Project has an interesting chart of turnout from the LA-06 primary runoff election to guide expectations in that race tonight. Food for thought:

Due to sheer vote power, Baton Rouge will decide this election. This is Woody's hometown, and Bush won West and East Baton Rouge parishes by a decisive 55%-45% margin over John Kerry in 2004. Still, that's not an insurmountable margin for a down-home Southern Dem to work with, and the city of Baton Rouge itself has seen a large influx of African-American residents from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It will all come down to turnout here: Will the black vote come out strongly enough for Cazayoux, even though state Rep. Michael Jackson, defeated in the primary, is running TV ads telling his supporters that he'll run in November as an independent? The Cazayoux campaign and the DCCC have been working the field hard, but it's still, of course, up in the air until the returns come in.

Also check out The Daily Kingfish for live coverage.

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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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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.

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