Childers’ victory bad news for GOP

The results of Tuesday’s congressional race in north Mississippi might be evidence that times are getting harder for Republicans, as three of the state’s four districts are now held by Democrats.

The First Congressional District seat had been considered a safe bet for Republicans, but Democrat Travis Childers won the race over GOP hopeful Greg Davis in an election observers said turned nasty.

Davis used aggressive ads against popular former Tupelo Republican Mayor Glenn McCullough in the runoffs. Davis’ strategy likely turned off some Republicans, who switched to vote for the conservative Democrat Childers, who also became the focus of attacks linking him to Sen. Barack Obama and his controversial minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, said Curtis Wilkie, Cook Chair in Journalism at the University of Mississippi.

Negative campaigning may have hurt Davis, and President Bush’s sagging approval ratings certainly didn’t help, said Wilkie, who spent 26 years at the Boston Globe covering presidential campaigns, among other duties. Wilkie questioned Davis having Vice President Dick Cheney campaign for him this week.

“Any Republican… is going to have some problems because the world is not happy with Bush and having to pay $4 for gas, and they’re not happy with where the market is, or where the economy is,” Wilkie said.

On the news of Childers’ victory, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole acknowledged the party faces challenges.

Sun Herald
5/15/8