In a major blow to national Republicans, a Mississippi congressional seat that once voted for President Bush by a twenty-five point margin elected a Democrat on Tuesday. Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers beat out Republican candidate Greg Davis, the mayor of Southaven, by a 54%-46% margin, a spread that several Republican strategists on Capitol Hill characterized as a startling wake-up call for a party in dire straits.
Voters cast ballots for the fourth time in three months for the seat, vacated when Republican Roger Wicker was appointed to fill the remainder of Senator Trent Lott's term. After winning the primary and the runoff election, Childers came within 410 votes of winning the first round of the special election against Davis on April 22, beating the Republican by a 49%-46% margin.
Last night, Childers, a conservative Democrat, again outperformed Davis in many rural counties. Childers did better than in April in eighteen out of twenty four counties, while he underperformed in just two counties. Childers held steady in three of the remaining counties, while Winston County produced just ten votes. Most importantly, Childers held firm in Lee County, the district's largest and home to Tupelo, winning 58% of the vote, while improving his showing in DeSoto County, Davis's home field. Childers won 25% of the vote in DeSoto County, better than his anemic 17% showing in April.
What is more important for the republican party?
1) Having majority power so they can spread the spoils of victory to supporters
2) Winning their own individual elections but remaining a minority so you can blame democrats for spending while you're lining the pockets of your supporters
3) Actually, having a cause and advancing the cause via your political party?
When Newt whipped out the Contract with America it was so simple because it was so principled. It really never occurred to me that it was anything earth shattering. After all, isn't that what party platforms are supposed to be about?
Yet republicans still don't have a clue that conservatives want smaller and more accountable government and they're more than willing to not support a candidate if they won't deliver that; just ask Mike DeWino.
What's even more amazing... conservative principles win. They have at least a 90% winning percentage when candidates run on them. In Mississippi, Childers is described as a CONSERVATIVE democrat. What part of that can't republicans understand?
Maybe one day the tone deaf GOP will hear the clue phone ringing. But, more importantly, maybe they'll actually answer it.