House diary: Republicans losing confidence in LA-06

Just a few days have passed since both parties selected their candidates for the May 3rd special election LA-06 and the NRCC is already staring at the very real possibility of the loss of a second seat less than two months after Foster picked-up IL-14. The campaign of the Democratic candidate, state Rep. Cazayoux, released an internal poll this week showing him leading Jenkins by 5%, 49% to 44%. While we should take this with a grain of salt, like any internal, consider that a Republican internal poll I reported on Sunday also showed Cazayoux narrowly ahead.

Republicans are dispirited that former state Rep. Woody Jenkins won the primary, seeing him as too controversial a figure to be as competitive as he should be in a general election. In Jenkins's resume, for instance, there is the small matter of a connection to Klansman David Duke... Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published a stunning article in which Republicans officials consider abandoning Jenkins entirely and letting him wrestle on his own against Democratic take over attempts. "The NRCC will meet with Mr. Jenkins's campaign this week to discuss strategy and to outline financial benchmarks that the campaign will have to meet to receive the campaign committee's support." A GOP aide adds that a GOP hold "is doable, but it's difficult."

But these suggestions are suspect: The NRCC is making it seem that they might not fund Jenkins because he is unelectable rather than because they do not have the money to help him.

If the GOP was so convinced that Jenkins is a second-tier candidate, why did they not agitate against him before the primary and recruit a strong candidate to run against him? Republicans could surely have found a stronger candidate had they woken up about Jenkins' problems before he was selected by voters. And Jenkins is not that second-tier a candidate for a district like LA-06: He fits the area's social conservatism and he has a strong local following.

The main reason the NRCC is considering not funding this race is the committee's lack of funds. They spent a lot of their money defending OH-05 and IL-14 in the past few months and their very meager war chest (they have about one seventh of the DCCC's cash on hand) does not allow them to spend the millions that would be necessary to help Jenkins in a meaningful way -- not to mention that the NRCC's opening its wallet would instantaneously lead the DCCC to launch in a spending war which Republicans simply cannot win.

Meanwhile, things are looking up for Democrats in AL-05, a Democratic-held open seat that votes heavily Republican in presidential elections. The DCCC did a better job recruitment-wise in what for a while looked like their most endangered seat of the cycle. They are running state Senator Griffith while the GOP has filed executive Wayne Parker (who unsuccessfully ran for the seat in 1994 and 1996). Now, Capital Survey Research Center has released a poll of this race, finding the Democrat leading Parker 48% to 32% -- a good margin to start with. The GOP has been looking for AL-05 to open up for years to win a seat they believe should be theirs and you can be sure they will hate the Democrats managing to find a way to hold on to it.

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  • Lack of funds could be the biggest threat to the GOP this year. ... Next to poor recruiting efforts. ... and an unpopular president. ... and unpopular stances on the war. ... and a tanking economy. ...

    By Anonymous C.S.Strowbridge, At 09 April, 2008 12:59  

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