5.01.2008

As the DCCC dumps huge resources in MS, Cazayoux leads and Childers distances himself

There are only two more days before the special election in LA-06; after attracting everyone's attention for a month, this district has been overshadowed in the past two weeks by MS-01, where the action has been more controversial. Now, a new poll released by SUSA confirms the conventional wisdom that the Democratic candidate, Cazayoux, is favored to pick-up this deeply conservative district. He leads Woody Jenkins, who suffers from a terrible favorability rating, 50% to 41%; Jenkins leads by 5% among white voters, trails 5:1 among African-Americans.

In Mississippi, Democrats are probably increasingly regretting the fact that Childers fell just short of the 50% mark in the first round, ending 400 votes from being elected on April 22nd. The runoff is on May 13th, and the Democrats are now spending a lot of resources to live up to the potential revealed last week. The DCCC just reported massive expenditures yesterday: more than $700,000, which includes two media buys, one for a negative and one for a positive ad! This means that the DCCC has spent more than $1,1 million on this seat for now which confirms that they are really committed to picking it up but also that they are not taking the runoff for granted despite Childers' edge in the first round. This also gives a clear edge to Childers since it will be very difficult for a still nearly-broke NRCC to meet the DCCC's spending.

Yet, there is no doubt Democrats have to be frustrated they have to spend this money at all -- not to mention they could have avoided the embarrassing distancing game Childers is playing vis-a-vis national Democrats. As I reported yesterday, the Southern special elections are now featuring Obama, with Republicans hitting Childers (and Cazayoux) over the head with ads linking him to national Democrats.

Childers already denied getting Obama's endorsement earlier this week. Now, he is taking the extra step of running an ad (you can watch it here) referring to "the lies and attacks linking me to politicians I don't know, and have never even met." There is nothing surprising in Childers' attempt to keep the race localized; Bush got 62% in this district and Childers cannot survive were he to be associated too closely with figures like Pelosi, Kerry and Obama. But, as Marc Ambinder reminds us, Obama used to claim that his candidacy would transform dynamics in the South and "make Mississippi a Democratic state" by making African-Americans vote their percentage of the population (which they already do).

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