Congressional races fully engaged in half of the state

Listening to the rhetoric in Mississippi’s mid-term congressional elections, the issues boil down to only a few questions that are getting much discussion:

Did you vote for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi?
Did you vote for the health care reform legislation?
Did you vote for government bailouts?
Are you against raising taxes?
Are you pro-life?
Are you pro-gun?
Are you an incumbent?
What have you done or what are you going to do about jobs?

Those questions aren’t much different in Mississippi than in congressional districts across the country. But in Mississippi, the answers to those questions are somewhat irrelevant in two districts.

The congressional districts currently drawn in Mississippi assure two basic facts – the 2nd Congressional District is drawn with the specific political predisposition to elect an African-American Democrat and the 3rd Congressional District is drawn with the specific predisposition to elect a conservative Republican.

But if at least half of the state isn’t fully engaged in a congressional race, the state’s 1st District features what state and national analysts see as a literal dead heat between incumbent first-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, D-Booneville and Republican challenger state Sen. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo. Childers and Nunnelee face independents Wally Pang, A.G. Baddley, Les Green and Rick “Rico” Hoskins along with the Constitution Party’s Gail Giaramita, Libertarian Harold M. Taylor, and the Reform Party’s Barbara Dale Washer on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Clarion-Ledger
9/22/10