CNN, 5/14/8

Based on early returns, CNN projects that Democrat Travis Childers defeated Republican Greg Davis in a Tuesday special election for an open congressional seat in northern Mississippi.

For Democrats, the decisive victory by Childers is the latest in a series of special-election wins for the party and provides a strong tailwind heading into the November elections. Republicans had held the seat since 1994.

For Republicans, Davis’ defeat is viewed as a possible preview for a widespread GOP thrashing in November, and it shows that trying to link local Democrats in conservative districts to Sen. Barack Obama and his former pastor was not a winning strategy.