It’s becoming a disturbing trend for Republicans: losing traditional GOP strongholds to Democrats in some hard-fought congressional races.
It happened again Tuesday, as Travis Childers beat Greg Davis in a special election to replace Republican Roger Wicker, who served in the House since 1994 and was appointed to the U.S. Senate to fill the seat vacated by Trent Lott.
Childers’ win gave Democrats a 236-199 edge over Republicans in Congress.
Earlier this year, Democrats captured the Illinois district long represented by former Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert, who resigned from Congress. This month, Democrats claimed a seat in Louisiana that Republican Rep. Richard Baker vacated and that the GOP had held since 1974.
Childers is a socially conservative county official, while Davis is mayor of a fast-growing city across the state line from Memphis, Tenn.
Childers stressed his independence, emphasizing his support of gun rights and opposition to abortion. He said his values match those of most voters in the deeply conservative district.
Tom Cole, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the Mississippi race showed that “Republicans must be prepared to campaign against Democrat challengers who are running as conservatives, even as they try to join a liberal Democrat majority.”