Stakes high in Mississippi race

Childers says he does not fear the arrival, next Monday, of Vice President Dick Cheney here in DeSoto County, where President Bush enjoys 67 percent job approval. As evidence that nationalizing the election is a barren strategy, Childers cites the recent special congressional election in Louisiana, where the Democrat ended the Republican Party’s 33-year hold on the 6th District, in spite of the Republican candidate’s charge that his opponent would be allied with Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But because national Democrats can be problems for Southern Democrats, Childers wants to change the subject, making this an election not about party but about geography: Should the district be represented by someone based, as Davis is, in the Memphis metropolitan area?

If Childers wins on Tuesday, Davis will have another crack at him in November, when the top of the Democratic ticket, whoever it is, might be a heavy weight in Childers’ saddle. But Davis had better win now because Mississippians in this district know how to split their tickets. For a House record 53 years from November 1941 to January 1995, while the South was changing from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican, Mississippi’s 1st District was represented by Democrat Jamie Whitten.

George Will
5/11/8