It’s hard to overstate the historical significance of a change in the congressman for this district. Childers becomes only the sixth person to serve in the seat in the last 100 years. Even Wicker’s 13 years as 1st District representative — a period in which he rose steadily in seniority and influence among House Republicans — was relatively short by his predecessors’ standards.
This transition isn’t an ordinary one. Childers has just been through the four-step gauntlet of regular and special elections to determine Wicker’s successor. He is assured of a seat in Congress only for the rest of 2008 owing to his victory in the May 13 runoff against Greg Davis after a bitter campaign.
That campaign will continue soon enough, with the full two-year term at stake in the Nov. 4 general election. Childers, the Democratic nominee, and Davis, the Republican, will be joined again by independent Wally Pang of Batesville and Green Party candidate John Wages of Lee County in that election, but there won’t be any possibility of a runoff in November. Whoever leads the vote, whether or not he gets an outright majority, will win in the general election.