After months of self-generated speculation whether he would or wouldn’t run for U.S. Senate, former first district congressman Travis Childers has qualified to run for the Democratic nomination. Childers is known mostly for getting evicted from office in 2010 after following Nancy Pelosi too close for his district’s liking in North Mississippi.
Childers enters the race sheepishly on the final day of qualifying; not quite the show of commitment to running to represent Mississippi most will appreciate. His entrance is purely to save face for a floundering Democrat Party.
There was no question Mississippi Democrats would run a candidate following the entry of Bill Marcy in their primary. Marcy has flip flopped between parties for years and often tries to coddle the Tea Party, something Democrats just can’t accept. They have purged the party of centrists and blue dogs, and don’t want anyone representing their party that’s not a true Democrat believer. The first order of business for Childers and the party elite will be to purge Marcy via a challenge to his certification to run as a Democrat.
Childers will then be the Democratic nominee, but will it matter? Does he have a legitimate chance in the general election versus either one of the Republicans, Thad Cochran or Chris McDaniel?
In a head to head with Cochran, Childers is DOA. He may pick up a few votes depending on how much fire power McDaniel’s attacks give Democrats but in all truth, Childers won’t win. Heck, he may drop out if Cochran gets past the June primary.
Childers versus McDaniel is not a gimme for Republicans. Both would be fairly unknown throughout the state meaning it will be purely a money game based on name ID and party affiliation. It would also have a north vs. south flair with Childers probably being stronger north of I-20 and McDaniel stronger south. A generic Republican would still have the advantage with deeper pockets than Democrats and with higher favorability among Magnolia State voters.
But the point to all of this may just be to encourage Republicans to beat up themselves, spending money on an otherwise easily won election. Democrats are focused on statewide elections in 2015; a Republican bloodbath this year means less funds to operate with next year and a chance voters grow disenchanted with the inter-party power struggle.
Will Childers even run a real race? Is the Mississippi Democrat Party capable of such?
The only foreseeable way Childers moves up the food chain is for a Republican implosion. The Cochran and McDaniel campaigns must not let that happen; conservatives cannot afford to let their overzealous support of their candidate give Democrats hope they honestly shouldn’t have in Mississippi.