Childers on Langston: "I would take his punishment if I could"

Congressman Travis Childers asks for mercy from the court on the sentencing of his friend and former business partner Joey Langston, who plead guilty to attempting to bribe a judge. One report said, "Childers suggested Langston has been punished by losing his law license and the embarrassment from the crime."

Letters ask for Langston leniency - Clarion Ledger

Congressman Travis Childers on Joey Langston: “This is not a man who has lost his way.” - Right of Mississippi

Childers Offers to Substitute Self for Langston - Respond Mississippi


The Bagman

DeSoto Times - Childers bags groceries on DeSoto stop

Congressman Travis Childers had it in the bag Tuesday — that is, the incumbent Democrat U.S. Representative bagged groceries at Curtis Grocery in Nesbit. Childers said he wanted to bag groceries and work behind the counter at the small rural grocery to demonstrate his connection to the "hard working people of Mississippi."


Childers Staff Salary

Legistorm takes public information on file in Washington, D.C. and puts it online. Courtesy of their database and thanks to an email tip, here is a list of the official staff members of Congressman Travis Childers and their salaries from May 14 through June 30.

Travis Childers
05/14/08 - 06/30/08

Bradford K. Morris
Chief of Staff

Richard W. Davidson
Deputy Chief Of Staff

Richard J. Babb
District Director

Harry D. Fuller Jr.
Field Representative

Daniel S. Christensen
Staff Assistant

Jeanette Materio
Senior Legislative Assistant

Eddie A. Longstreet
Field Representative

Nissa R. Hiatt
Legislative Correspondent

Irene K. Miller
Staff Assistant

Dean A. Lester
Shared Employee


Turnbow: 2 Polls - Davis 47 Childers 46 & Childers 51 Davis 42

From Turnbow: "I saw two polls this morning from the north Mississippi congressional race between Travis Childers(D) and Greg Davis(R). One had Davis up by a 47-46 margin and the other one had Childers up 51-42."


Earmarks; NRA endores Childers

DeSoto Times Tribune - Davis: End federal earmarks, Childers says earmarks "not necessarily bad"

Davis said the time has come to end earmarks as a means of getting federal spending under control. "We would sign a bill that would ban earmarks," Davis said Friday, echoing comments he made in a televised debate with Childers at the University of Mississippi on Wednesday.

Childers said he does not want North Mississippi to miss out on federal funds for badly needed projects, and therefore is not inclined to categorically ban them. "If every member of Congress were willing to join a pact saying that they wouldn't take earmark appropriations, then I would be the first one to sign on. But if big states throughout the country continue to accept these funds, I'm not going to sit idly by while North Mississippi falls behind. There are legitimate projects in this district that need funding, and I'm going to fight for what's best for this district."

Commercial Appeal - NRA endorses Rep. Childers

Daily Journal - Few watching the House race

DeSoto Times Tribune - Southaven to host Veterans Day luncheon

Just for kicks. Clarion Ledger - Custom of civility goes missing in Senate race


DCCC Attacks Davis


Daily Journal - Davis and Childers go head to head - But according to Davis, Childers voted 95 percent of the time along party lines, while Childers countered that he holds the second-most independent voting record in the Democratic party. Davis also insisted Childers voted a majority of the time against offshore drilling, while Childers defended his record, saying he voted only against those bills that also authorized other measures he didn't agree with. And Davis attacked Childers for receiving a large campaign contribution from a former board member of Planned Parenthood, which is a pro-choice organization. Childers said that at least Davis was being honest during the debate that the contribution came from a former board member and not the organization itself, which was a claim being made by the Davis campaign, Childers said.

Commercial Appeal - Childers, Davis debate economy - But Davis chided Childers for also voting to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Childers responded by saying that if that bailout plan had not been approved, the home values of residents would have “been deflated and devalued.”

DeSoto Times - Childers, Davis pledge to end negative ads - Davis drew cheers from the crowd when he said if elected his first vote would be against the re-election of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Childers said his votes in Congress since he was elected in May's special election have differed from the Democratic leadership.

Clarion Ledger - 1st District debate not marred by attacks - The bailout is one vote Davis and Childers agree on, but Davis disagreed with Childers' vote to support the government's $200 billion bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. "He's taken contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," Davis said. "It bailed out the Chinese government - not our own." Childers said bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "is different than the $850 billion bailout. They have over half the mortgages in the country. If we didn't do that, every single one of our homes would have deflated - (the bailout) will pay itself back."


Union Bosses and a Debate

Bobby Harrison - State elections more competitive than usual for Democrats - The Web site lists the race between 1st District U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, a Democrat, and Republican Southaven Mayor Greg Davis as competitive, but leaning toward the incumbent.

DeSoto Times - Childers courts union workers - Although Mississippi’s First Congressional District is not a heavily-unionized region like its neighbor to the north, U.S. Rep. Travis Childers is courting union workers who live in DeSoto County but work in Memphis. Clay Davis of Hernando, a retired electrical worker and a member of Local No. 474 in Memphis, said his electrical workers union is staunchly behind Childers. Davis, no relation to Childers’ Republican opponent Greg Davis, is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. “I just got a letter from 474 plugging for Travis and Ronnie (Musgrove),” Clay Davis, a Childers supporter, said Monday. “Travis Childers is strictly for organized labor.” His big support comes from trial lawyers and unions,” Greg Davis said. “Our campaign would never court people that we don’t philosophically agree with.”

Commercial Appeal - House candidates Childers, Davis set to debate today - Rep. Travis Childers, D-Miss., and Republican opponent Greg Davis, the Southaven mayor, meet in Oxford this afternoon for a debate that both candidates say will focus on the issues and not personal attacks. But in saying they intend to stick to the high road, each candidate blamed the other for starting negative campaigning.


On Again

North Miss. congressional race is on again - Associated Press

Like many other members of the fiscally conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats in the House, Childers recently voted against a $700 billion bailout for the financial sector. "It was unfair to ask north Mississippians who didn't do one thing to cause that problem, to ask them to tack on another $2,800 worth of debt on every man, woman, boy and girl to bail out Wall Street," Childers, 50, said by phone between campaign stops late last week. In a separate interview, Davis said that if he had been in Congress, he also would've voted against the financial bailout. He said he would've gone a couple of steps further than Childers, by opposing procedural moves that allowed the bill to come up for votes in the first place. "That's a huge difference there," said Davis, 42.

Childers sponsored a bill seeking to make the District of Columbia expand the rights of its residents to buy and own firearms, including semiautomatic weapons. The bill was backed by the National Rifle Association and opposed by the District's only delegate to Congress. It passed the House 266-152 in September, but is unlikely to be considered by the Senate before this session ends. "We just felt like if they could stop the law-abiding people in D.C. from having a gun, then they could do it in Tupelo, Mississippi - or Batesville, Mississippi, where I am today," Childers said Friday. "We just felt like that D.C. was thumbing their nose at the Supreme Court." Davis said he wonders if the legislation is just "a political game." "Kind of strange, I think," Davis said. "Why are we doing city-specific legislation? If we are going to protect gun owners as a whole, then we should've made the same rules apply nationwide."


Childers brings AFL-CIO tactics to Mississippi 1

Meet Your Release Staff: March Cochran, USW - Mississippi AFL-CIO - The son and grandson of union aluminum workers in Muscle Shoals,Ala., Mark Cochran carries the values and spirit of a union household to every shop he visits and every volunteer he enlists as USW’s Mississippi coordinator for Labor 2008. His work helped Democrat Travis Childers win a congressional election last year in a district that has historically voted overwhelmingly Republican.

Leafleting USW shops—from paper mills to facilities producing air conditioners and golf club shafts—Cochran and his volunteers have been confronted by security guards and escorted of plant properties. “Anywhere we’ve been turned away, we’ve returned to get the job done,” says Cochran.

Mississippi is not used to having a high level of coordination between local unions on political campaigns. “But we’re here to stay,” says Cochran. It’s a serious message from the father of three who played two years of football at the University of North Alabama.

As a member of the Alliance (CWA, USW, IFPTE, UAW), Cochran is working with AFL-CIO affiliates to introduce Sen. Barack Obama, Rep. Travis Childers and former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove to the sizeable numbers of unionists who work in southern Tennessee, but live in Mississippi.


Davis: Country Needs Some Dave Ramsey

Davis: Country needs Dave Ramsey - Daily Journal - Republican congressional candidate Greg Davis addressed the nation's economic crisis Thursday during an appearance at the Tupelo Luncheon Civitan Club. "Washington has lost touch. In my opinion, it's time America and Congress do a little Dave Ramsey and cut up our credit cards to other countries. Something needs to be done, but not at the taxpayers' expense. We need to make sure the CEOs and investors (of these companies) are not rewarded."


Waiting to Lead

Miss. lawmakers divided on bailout plan
First District Rep. Travis Childers, a member of the Blue Dog caucus, said he is waiting for the details of a final deal between the Bush administration and Congress' Democratic leaders. "I feel it is morally reprehensible that the middle class is not only suffering from a failing economy and rising costs but also now is being asked to foot the bill for Wall Street's bad decisions and reckless management as a result of deregulation," Childers said.
As noted just yesterday, Childers sits on the Financial Services committee. This isn't his fault. No one expects him to have the solution. But he should at least be on top of things and not just waiting to see what Bush and the other Democrats work out.


Financial Services Committee

From Congressman Travis W. Childers' web page, "As a realtor in North Mississippi for over thirty years, I was extremely encouraged when I became an active Member of the House Financial Services Committee. The committee has primary jurisdiction over the nation's financial sectors that include banking, insurance, real estate, public-housing, and securities. On a routine basis, the committee hears testimony from various international finance experts that include the Chairman of the Federal Reserve and the Secretary of the Treasury. With the increasing strains on the American economy, I certainly look forward to offering my experiences as a small business man in order to find effective solutions to the financial obstacles every day American's face on a daily basis.

No one expects Travis Childers to solve the very complicated and vast problems facing the U.S. economy right now. We wouldn't expect Greg Davis to be any more capable. And certainly, Travis Childers is in no way to blame. He hasn't been there long enough to do anything good or bad. But this is his committee and they are responsible for what he says above. Childers should inform Mississippi of his thoughts, as a member of this semi-important committee, of this fairly important economic time.


Childers Fundraising Up; Davis On Hold

Clarion Ledger - 1st District candidate putting off fundraising - Republican Greg Davis has taken a break from fundraising. The latest filings with the Federal Election Commission show Davis, the mayor of Southaven, has raised only $6,644 since he was defeated by Childers in a special election in May. Davis said he has put his fundraising on hold "to spend some time with the family and regroup." He also said he's changing campaign managers. Former manager Ted Prill has left the campaign, and his replacement will be announced soon, Davis said. Davis ended the reporting period with about $54,000 in cash on hand, close to the $55,000 he lent his campaign. But the mayor said he resumed fundraising efforts after July 4 and plans to stay in what he considers a competitive race. Childers reported raising about $169,000 since his May 13 election. Contributors included Delta Pride Catfish owner Bill Allen, who donated $500; the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, who donated $1,000; and former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore.

Daily Journal - Childers' campaign money numbers go up after win


Davis for 'smart growth'

Mayor Davis works to create 610-acre mixed-use development in Southaven

Commercial Appeal - Southaven plans 'smart growth' community

Childers for ANWR

Conservatives must be thinking maybe Childers isn't so bad while liberals might be wondering what they have wrought.

Y'all Politics - Congressman Travis Childers (D) - Drill offshore & in ANWR . . . build more refineries


Too Long

A long, long, long post on the "The Story and Lessons of Travis Childers and MS-01" by TrumantoLong

Davis, GOP change strategy on MS-1

Campaigns and Elections - Davis Says Running Against Obama Won't Work - The incumbent candidate in Mississippi's 1st district congressional race is a pro-gun, pro-life, fiscal conservative-and he's the Democrat. Therein lies the challenge for Republican Greg Davis, who is running again this fall in a re-match of the most highly publicized special election that the GOP lost this spring. In May, Democrat Travis Childers beat Davis in a district where George Bush won 62 percent of the vote in 2004. That defeat, says Davis, provides a valuable strategic lesson. "We're going to spend more time going out there and meeting with voters and letting them know who I am, and less on the contrast ads which just didn't work," Davis says, referring to ads that tried to link Childers to presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

Both Davis and the Mississippi GOP say they realize the negative ads linking Childers to Obama and the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright didn't do the trick for conservative voters in northern Mississippi. "The campaign this time around has to be about what Davis is-not what Childers isn't," says Cory Adair, a spokesman for the Mississippi Republican Party. "They completely hijacked the Republican platform," he says, referring to Childers' successful marketing of himself as a conservative during the special election on such issues as the second amendment, abortion, and immigration.

Whatever the Republican strategy, Childers is going out of his way to not provide the GOP any opening to link him to the presumptive Democratic nominee. Rep. Childers says he will not even attend the party's national convention in Denver this August. "It's reflective of who he is, he's not a party guy," says John Rowley, a media consultant for the Childers campaign, who insists the decision not to attend the convention stemmed from the congressman's busy schedule and was not part of a campaign strategy to deliberately shy away from Obama.

Both sides agree that the race in Mississippi 1 will come down to who's better on the economy. Rowley says Childers will continue to hit home on his message of fiscal responsibility from the special election. Similarly, Davis says he'll put more emphasis on his economic record as mayor of Southaven, including the $5.2 million surplus he presided over there.

Childers on Oil Speculation

DeSoto Times - In Brief: Childers presides over U.S. House - Just back from his first official visit to Iraq over the July Fourth recess, U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, D-Miss., had another first as a congressman Wednesday when he presided over the House of Representatives. Childers, who took office May 20 after winning a special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., took up the Speaker's gavel to rule on motions from the floor during votes on legislation calling for housing assistance to very low income veterans, which passed, and a bill providing for minting quarter coins engraved with images of national parks.

Daily Journal - Childers pushes for energy solutions - In the face of ever-increasing gas prices, U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, D-Miss., called on the House Agriculture Committee this week to investigate the practice of oil speculation. "When I was elected, the price of gasoline was $3.61 per gallon. Barely a month later the price of gasoline per gallon has jumped to over $4," Childers said. "Recently, I met with sweet potato farmers from my district who are facing increased production costs as the prices of diesel fuel, fertilizer and gasoline all rise. "These price spikes have placed a tremendous economic pressure on an industry that is vital to my district and is threatening the livelihood of many of the Mississippi working families I represent." Although Childers and other committee members will explore numerous factors leading to today's high energy prices, most have specifically cited oil speculation as a particular concern. Congress this summer has already held about a half dozen hearings on the issue, with lawmakers vowing to tighten restrictions on the practice. This week's hearing in the Agriculture Committee will be the first such hearing that Childers has attended, confirmed his communications director, Dana Edelstein. But the congressman said he’s anxious to work with his colleagues from both parties to come up with a solution.

Y'allPolitics - Travis Childers (D) on Oil Speculation


Davis for 4-day, 10-hour day work weeks

AP - Southaven mayor wants 4-day work week - Southaven Mayor Greg Davis wants city employees on a 4-day work week beginning Oct. 1. The board of aldermen have not set a date for consideration. Davis said clerical workers and other non-salaried employees would work a 4-day week with 10-hour days. He said department heads would be exempt. Davis said he envisions employees coming in at 7:30 a.m. and working until 6 p.m. with a 30-minute lunch break. In addition to weekends, their third day off would rotate. Davis said the police department already works 12-hour shifts, which works well for that department.


Djournal: "Childers: Bring home U.S. troops from Iraq"

NEMS Daily Journal - Childers: Bring home U.S. troops from Iraq - During the third day of his trip to the Middle East, U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, D-Miss., on Tuesday urged the country’s leaders to bring the American troops home. “I remain convinced that the Iraqi government needs to step up its own efforts to strengthen and repair the country’s economic situation,” Childers said in a press release. The congressman, who is part of a six-member congressional delegation on the trip, spent much of his second and third days in meetings on the Iraqi economy. “Our own economy is taking a huge hit every day that we stay in Iraq,” he said. “Funds spent in Iraq are funds we can’t spend at home to invest in sources of alternative energy, job growth, and economic development. “North Mississippians would like to see our troops return home sooner rather than later, and I am for bringing our soldiers back honorably and safely.”


Freedom Watch targets Childers, others

Politico.com - Independence Day week ad blitz - The Freedom’s Watch target list closely approximates the top targets for the National Republican Congressional Committee. The Freedom’s Watch ads are running against: Reps. Don Cazayoux (D-La.), Travis Childers (D-Miss.), Nick Lampson (D-Texas), Nancy Boyda (D-Kansas), Steve Kagen (D-Wis.), Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas), Zack Space (D-Ohio), Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Carney.


Childers in Iraq, on guns, on energy

Tupelo Daily Journal - Childers recounts amazing' experiences in Iraq - With just one full day in Iraq under his belt, U.S. Rep. Travis Childers already had some stories to tell. The newly elected Democrat from Prentiss County flew to Iraq as part of an official congressional delegation Friday to visit troops, political leaders and communities in locations occupied by U.S. soldiers. "It's just been an amazing day, absolutely amazing day," Childers said in a phone conference with reporters Sunday afternoon. He and five other members of Congress arrived in Kuwait City on Saturday, Iraq time, and spent Sunday traveling across Iraq. The first trip was to Baghdad via a C-130 cargo plane. After a security briefing, the group went to see a facility featuring MRAPS, or mine-resistant ambush-protected armored vehicles. "(It) is very interesting to me, partly because one of the MRAPS, possibly two of them, various ones, were made in our district in North Mississippi, in West Point, Clay County, Miss.," he said, referring to the armored vehicles designed to survive roadside bombs. "I had a great visit with the men there. I have some wonderful pictures of the MRAPS in action." The next stop was Fallujah via an V-22 Osprey, a military plane with the features of a helicopter. There the delegation attended a briefing on the economic recovery program at an American command center before having lunch with soldiers from Mississippi. "I had a great visit with them," Childers said. "It gave me an opportunity to say...how much North Mississippians appreciate them, not only today but always." Later the group met for counter-improvised explosive device training. "They showed us a lot of the IEDs, just how clever (terrorists) are with them," Childers said. The day closed with another meal with soldiers. "It not only made me proud to be American, but it made me proud to be a North Mississippian, knowing we have young men and women who are willing to serve and serve our country," Childers said. This is the first trip to Iraq for Childers, the former Prentiss County chancery clerk was was elected to Congress in a special election in May. The group he is traveling with consists of three Democrats and three Republicans. During his campaign, Childers advocated bringing troops home soon while providing them with material support until that happens.

CottonMouth posts that contrary to "attack ads ran by the NRCC that implied that Childers once elected would start pushing 'Speaker Pelosi's liberal agenda'" that he ran as a pro-gun candidate and "looks to remain that way". CM quotes Childers from the Sun Herald, "I believe the right to bear arms is a fundamental freedom, and I am proud to support legislation to protect the civil liberties of gun owners in north Mississippi and throughout the nation." CottonMouth - Travis Childers on Supreme Court gun ruling

TheConservativeView says Childers "rejected a real energy solution" and instead joined Democrats who "chose to insult the American people by offering sham bills". TCV quotes a NRCC spokesman, "It’s become astoundingly clear that Travis Childers and his Democrat leaders have no direction and no hope for solving the nation’s energy crisis. The American people demand action and accountability for record-high gas prices and Travis Childers has responded by sitting on his hands while his party plays political games.” TheConservativeView - Travis Childers Rejects Alternative Energy Proposal


Davis in Southaven; Childers in Congress

Memphis Commercial Appeal - Audit reveals $5.2 million surplus for Southaven - Economic woes don't appear to be affecting the City of Southaven's bottom line so far. The city's annual audit shows a surplus of $5.2 million for fiscal 2007, about $2.2 million of which is already committed to ongoing projects. Mayor Greg Davis presented the financial report at Tuesday's Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. The report was prepared by the accounting firm of Williams, Pitts and Beard of Hernando. Davis told aldermen the city is in good enough shape that it has used about $3.2 million in cash to fund its capital improvement projects rather than issuing bonds to finance them. The improvement projects include renovating the old M.R. Davis Library and performing upgrades at Snowden Grove Park. Major expenditures for the city included $14 million for public safety. Sales taxes remained the largest single revenue item at $11 million, and Southaven Towne Center was credited with the continued growth in sales tax revenue for the city.

Sun Herald Washington Bureau - House bill breaks logjam on rebuilding public housing
Removes HUD, FEMA conflict
- Just two weeks after a critical joint House committee hearing, the House on Wednesday approved a bill to break a federal impasse on rebuilding public housing after a disaster. The bill, which was done on a bipartisan basis and passed on a voice vote, removes a conflict between FEMA and the Housing and Urban Development Administration over funding. The Public Housing Disaster Relief Act, (H.R. 6276), would remove the HUD program to make way for the FEMA funding. Newly elected U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, R-Miss., who was a floor manager of the bill, said it represented "a common sense approach" to remove the barrier that "has stalled federal dollars" from being used to rebuild the Coast after Hurricane Katrina. House Financial Institutions Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., said, "This is no special deal for Louisiana and Mississippi. This simply provides public housing's fair share."

JFP Interview

Excerpts from the Jackson Free Press interview with Representative Travis Childers - Childers Unplugged

Did you ask for them? How does that work?
I asked for Agriculture, because when Bennie Thompson was moved up to take over the Homeland Security Committee, it left a vacancy as far as Mississippi went on the Agricultural Committee. ... And that wouldn’t do, because agriculture is still such an important industry in the state.

So you filled a hole there?
Yeah. I felt like I owed it to the people of Mississippi. They need a voice on Agriculture. I’m the new kid on the block, so I figured I’d step up. (Pelosi) placed me on the Financial Services Committee because I’m a businessman. I have a business background. I’ve been a businessman for 31 years, since I was in junior college, so she felt my being a realtor for all that time made the committee a good place for me, and I concur. I’m very pleased with my two assignments.

You know, a lot of grumpy local Republican types seem to think you owe your victory in MS-01 to a rivalry between the Tupelo dirt-haulers and the uppity refugees fleeing Memphis for the Mississippi suburbs in Desoto County.
I know that. I’ve heard all those things they said, but I think it was more a matter of having two clearly distinct personalities in the race. There wasn’t much crossover from people saying, “Well, I kind of like “em both.” There wasn’t much of that, I don’t think. We stood for two totally different segments and two different groups of people. Travis Childers stood for working families. The other guy did not, and it showed. The good thing about that, of course, is there are a lot more working people than anybody else. The working people felt passionate enough about their future and nervous enough about their financial situation to turn out to vote, and you can bet I’m the most appreciative and grateful congressman in this 435-member House.

Getting back to Desoto County, you did find some love there, too, didn’t you?
I sure did. I’m glad somebody noticed that. Let me tell you: My home county (Prentiss) gave me 85 percent of the vote, and I say that with all the humility in my body, but I also got 25 or so percent in Desoto County—that’s the other guy’s home. I got about 5,000 or 6,000 votes there.

Quite the independent, apparently. I notice, for instance, that you haven’t endorsed any presidential candidates, yet. Do you plan to?
Here’s my situation. We’ve been without a congressman for five long months in North Mississippi. We’ve had no representation. Granted, we had our two U.S. senators, but the system’s not set up for long vacancies. For five months we’ve done without. I just feel like the people that I serve and the people I represent want me to get busy with the business of the First Congressional District, represent their interest, and I don’t think they want me meddling in presidential politics, because every hour I spend on any other subject, other than the First District of Mississippi, is an hour away from issues concerning the people I serve.

Can’t spare the 30 minutes to write an endorsement, eh?
Mississippians are an independent-minded group of people, and as far as I’m concerned, they are free to vote for whomever they want to for president. I hope they choose me as their congressman, but that’s about where my personal preferences should stop as far as the voters go. Mind you, I am a Democrat. I don’t think people question my Democratic credentials, but I really don’t want to wade off into this issue, because when I do that, I think it detracts from my mission to be the best congressman this district has ever had.

I know you do a lot of work in the mortgage market. What condition is the market in right now?
Just recently I was named to the Capital Markets Subcommittee, in the Financial Services Committee. I literally got the last seat on that subcommittee, and I can’t wait to pick up on the information coming through that subcommittee. I think it will help me get a greater understanding of what’s going on with the mortgage problems in America.

From what you know already, is there one place to lay the blame, or was this collapse due to a combination of factors?
A lot of lenders and mortgage companies were preying on people who normally would not be able to have afforded the mortgages they were shooting for, but the lender somehow made it work, but then ran the interest rates way, way up. As in most situations, there’s a lot of blame to pass around, but I just don’t think this administration has done everything it can, in a quick enough fashion, to address the issue.

Some would say perhaps the borrowers shouldn’t have engaged in risky loans that allowed them to lie about their income. What’s your response?
I always want to be on the side of the working folks, but working folks sometimes make mistakes, too. Yes, in all honesty, there probably were some folks who weren’t totally truthful in their quest for a loan, and they’re now, sadly, paying the price. But I still think we could have done more to soften the blow. Before Congress adjourns for the year, I think you’ll see some action taken. I can’t give you any real details this early, but I want to be a part of the solution.


Childers District Offices

Cotton Mouth has the press release Congressman Childers sent out on the location of his district offices. The Commerical Appeal does a piece on it today as well.


Financial Services and the Mortgage Crisis

"We face tough times. We face challenges to small businesses and struggles to create jobs. We need a congressman who understands tough times, has started businesses, and created jobs. We need Travis Childers . Our leaders should have been thinking of the economic problems we face today when they passed unfair trade deals that sent our jobs overseas, gave billions in subsidies to big oil companies, ignored the home mortgage crisis, and kept spending as the deficit and national debt hit all time highs." - "Travis On The Issues" at ChildersForCongress.com

Rep. Travis Childers sits on the House Committee on Financial Services. Yesterday, another member of that committee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) called for hearings regarding lawmakers who received discount mortgage deals from Countrywide Financial Corporation. Reports say Senators Chris Dodd (D-Conn) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) received VIP discounts on their mortgages from Countrywide and additional members may be involved. A spokesman for Rep. Barney Franks (D-Mass), the Financial Services chairman, said Franks is "not inclined to jump on this — he’s focused on legislation and will leave issues like this to other oversight committees.”

Joining Hensarling is a great opportunity for Childers to not ignore the home mortgage crisis and to work in a bipartisan way to bring real change to Washington.

Childers no underdog in fundraising

Daily Journal - Reports show Childers drew key late funds - Travis Childers of Booneville may have looked like the underdog going into a May 13 special congressional election against Southaven Mayor Greg Davis. But a surge in contributions from individuals, political action committees and his political party helped him win the 1st District congressional seat, Federal Election Commission reports filed this week show. In the end, Democrat Childers out-raised and out-spent Republican Davis. Thursday was the deadline for both campaigns to report their non-party special election spending. A look at the reports, covering finances from April 24 through June 2, shows where Childers got his help:

- He raised about $200,000 more from individuals than Davis.
- PACS favored him by more than a $320,000 margin.
- And the Democratic National Congressional Committee poured on $500,000 more cash than Davis' National Republican Congressional Committee.

For the Childers-Davis contest, national Democrats spent $1.84 million compared with national Republicans' $1.29 million. By the time that campaign was over, their campaigns were fairly even with money in the bank, even though Davis had out-raised and out-spent Childers nearly 2-1. The FEC reports show that while Davis out-raised Childers across a series of four elections, his finances slipped when he needed them most - the special election runoff to decide who would hold the House seat through 2008. Davis and Childers, who won their party nominations, face each other in the Nov. 4 general election to decide which will serve a complete two-year term. Both campaigns still have debt issues to deal with:

- Childers loaned himself $150,000.
- Davis borrowed $55,000 - most of it against his home.

Childers reported nearly $35,000 post-election contributions, while Davis reported zero.

Childers discloses finances

Clarion Ledger - Miss. House delegation offers data on income, assets - Rep. Travis Childers got a raise when he was sworn in to Congress according to financial records released Monday. Childers earned $89,310 last year as a member of the Prentiss County Board of Supervisors. He also earned $10,033 from his real estate business and $29,477 from chancery clerk fees. As a freshman member of the House, he earns $169,300. Childers, a Democrat elected in May to represent the 1st District, listed assets valued between $1.7 million and $4 million on the financial disclosure statements released Monday. His assets included wife Tami's interest in a nursing home in Booneville, a waterfront home on Pickwick Lake, a condo in Oxford and hundreds of acres of timberland. Some of Childers' properties are mortgaged. He reported owing between $946,000 and $1.25 million in mortgage loans.


Childers thanks Tennessee Dems

The Tennessee Democratic Party blog posts this message from Congressman Childers to Tennessee Democrats -

To the Tennessee Democratic Party and Democrats throughout the state,

Please allow me to take a minute to publicly thank the Tennessee Democratic Party for its tireless efforts to make me the newest member of the United States House of Representatives. As I come to work each day, walking these hallowed halls, I realize that it took the help of so many people, including Tennessee Democrats, to help make possible this historic achievement. And it was historic.I became the first Congressman in American history to run four elections in only sixty-three days! Those campaigns were hard-fought and a great bridge of camaraderie was built between the great States of Tennessee and Mississippi. As Congressman John Tanner walked side by side with me on the campaign trail, we brought the true American values back to the people.

Congressman Lincoln Davis and Congressman Jim Cooper both answered the call for a fellow “Blue Dog” Democrat and helped carry us over the top. Then, there was the unwavering support of Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman, Gray Sasser and his staff. Without the help of fellow Tennessee Democrats, our victory would have been even more difficult, if not impossible.

But as much as I have enjoyed celebrating this victory, the campaign trail had its sobering moments. As we traveled those roads and back roads, so many people told us of hardship and heart break, of difficulties involving the loss of jobs and financial hardships because of the lack of affordable health care. But I believe there is change sweeping. And I believe that our victory on May 13, 2008 was not only a harbinger of change for the State of Mississippi, but the nation as well. People raised their voices for a new direction of hope and prosperity.

Throughout history, our party has shown that we stand for the working families, for fairness and equality. From Andrew Jackson to Franklin D. Roosevelt, from James K. Polk to John F. Kennedy, the Democratic Party has been concerned that all citizens have an opportunity for social and economic prosperity. And once more, is ready to rightfully reassume its mantle as the moral leader of the world.

Jackson Day is now over, but in the work to spread the message of hope has just begun. Speak to those who have the Blues on Beale. Reach out to those who are holding down the family farm. Take the spirit of Old Hickory with you into the rolling hills of middle Tennessee. March up Rocky Top and down the Lookout, determined to get this nation back on track, to bring much needed change. I had my time. But this is your time. The political experts said I was attempting the impossible, but I proved them wrong with old fashioned hard work and dedication and reliance on friends.

Take it from me: Don’t let anyone tell you that your cause is unjust or too difficult. Roll up your sleeves, dust off the boots and begin the journey for change not only in Tennessee, but in the nation as well.

-Congressman Travis W. Childers


Sticking to his knitting?

The Hill - Some Hill Dems won't endorse Obama - The presidential race may be topic A, B and C in Washington these days, but some people are just too busy to think about it — particularly, it seems, centrist Democrats from conservative districts, who aren’t exactly eager to align themselves with Sen. Barack Obama. Rep. Travis Childers, elected just weeks ago in a Mississippi special election, hasn’t endorsed anyone in the presidential race yet. “We have had our head down at work, trying to get our feet on the ground up here,” said Childers’ chief of staff, Brad Morris. “The presidential politics just has not been on our mind.”

Capitol Hill Blue - Some Dems hesitant about Obama - Nothing personal, Sen. Obama, but our re-election comes first. Barack Obama, for all his attention and primary successes, does not go over so well in a fair number of Democratic lawmakers' home districts. So it seems there is little chance that some will endorse him for president.

Some are counting on Republican votes in their re-election bids. Some are newly minted and in rematches with 2006 opponents. Some may be wary of how their constituents will react to a black presidential candidate. Some, too, have made it a practice of distancing themselves from the national party, fearing the inevitable campaign ad that has their face morphing into Howard Dean, the party chairman, and Obama. "They are all scared to death about getting beat by a Republican," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., one of Obama's most prominent supporters. "I don't think that if the good Lord himself had been nominated as a Democrat that some of those folks would have endorsed him. They are afraid of looking too much like a Democrat because of the kind of districts they're from."

Republican campaign strategists already have shown they want to link Democratic candidates with Obama and other national figures, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former pastor. In special elections last month in Mississippi and Louisiana, Democratic candidates Travis Childers and Don Cazayoux faced television ads attempting to make those connections. But Childers and Cazayoux won surprise victories, raising questions about the strategy's effectiveness. Still, Childers is staying out of the presidential race, as is his fellow Mississippi Democrat Gene Taylor. Cazayoux recently announced he is backing Obama.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a Democratic House leader who helped orchestrate the party's strategy for winning control of Congress in 2006, argues against reading too much into the holdouts. He said most of them always stay out of national politics and that the party is generally unified around Obama. "They're just going to stick to their knitting," he said. "It's not that they're anti-Obama."


The left and pro-life Democrats

RH Reality Check - Dana Goldstein - The New Anti-Choice Democrats: Can We Work With Them? - In a campaign TV advertisement, Don Cazayoux, introduced voters to his parents, Don Sr. and Ann. "We thought you should know what he learned growing up," Ann Cazayoux said. As photographs of Don Jr. with babies flashed across the screen, she continued, "We taught him every life is precious." The words "Pro-life" appeared in the bottom left hand corner. Indeed, trumpeting broad opposition to abortion rights was a key strategy of Cazayoux's campaign. Meanwhile, in north Mississippi, Democrat Travis Childers was making a similar case. "Keep this in mind," Childers said matter of factly in one ad. "I'm pro-life and pro-gun." On May 14, Childers, too, was elected to Congress, in a district where 62 percent of voters had supported Bush's reelection.

In a reproductive health dream world, pro-choice Democrats would have been elected in Lousiana's eighth district and Mississippi's first. Given widespread anger with the Bush administration and its conservative policies, maybe Childers and Cazayoux could have moderated their abortion positions and still cruised to victory. But in reality, reassuring conservative Southern voters about core social issues was likely the only way Nancy Pelosi could have added these two seats to her total. And by preserving a continued Democratic majority in the House, Cazayoux and Childers, whatever their personal opinions on abortion, ensure that bills restraining choice will largely stay off the legislative docket. The last major Congressional vote seeking to restrict American women's reproductive rights occurred in 2006, when Republicans were still in control.

On later-term abortions, parental notification, and federal funding for abortion, pro-choicers may need to part ways with the Cazayouxs and Childerses of the world. We should do so respectfully and without alienating them or their supporters. Just by being Democrats from the South, these politicians are giving reproductive rights a major lift. By rebuilding progressivism in that region, they ensure that more Democrats -- some of them pro-choice -- will receive a fair hearing when they run for office. But for that to happen, "Democrat" can't be a scary word. Guys like Cazayoux and Childers help make that transition happen.


Childers votes with Republicans on budget

The Hill - House OKs $3.1 trillion spending plan; fate of approps bills remains uncertain - House Democrats squeaked through a $3.1 trillion spending map that outlines the party’s spending priorities through the next five years and the next president’s term. Most Democrats applauded the measure, but Republicans derided it as a guaranteed recipe for historic tax increases. The 214-210 vote Thursday on the 2009 budget compromise, Congress’s first election-year budget in eight years, also showed that the Democrats’ expanding majority in the House is still volatile. Although Democrats held together a majority of the Blue Dog coalition — winning the votes of 38 of the 47 fiscally conservative lawmakers — they lost the votes of the three newest members of their caucus. Reps. Don Cazayoux (D-La.), Travis Childers (D-Miss.) and Bill Foster (D-Ill.) — all elected from Republican districts in special elections this year — voted against the conference report on the budget. The three newest House members joined 11 other Democrats — including nine Blue Dogs — in voting against the majority. Not a single Republican voted for the budget resolution.

Roll Call - Some Blue Dogs Balk on Budget - Fiscally conservative Democrats made their feelings known about spending in the $3 trillion fiscal 2009 budget blueprint, which narrowly passed the House on Thursday. Blue Dogs made up the bulk of the 14 Democrats who sided with Republicans in opposing the resolution, which squeaked by on a 214-210 vote. They were also a chunk of the seven Democrats not voting at all. No Republicans voted for the resolution. Democrats who voted against the budget plan were Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Dan Cazayoux (La.), Travis Childers (Miss.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Brad Ellsworth (Ind.), Bill Foster, (Ill.), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), Baron Hill (Ind.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Nick Lampson (Texas), Jim Matheson (Utah), Harry Mitchell (Ariz.) and Patrick Murphy (Pa.).

Of those, nine are part of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and three — Cazayoux, Childers and Foster — are recent special election winners in previously Republican districts. Of the seven Democrats who voted “present” on the budget bill, three are Blue Dogs: Reps. Melissa Bean (Ill.), Jim Marshall (Ga.) and Heath Shuler (N.C.).

Despite the close vote, Blue Dog leaders subsequently issued a statement praising the budget plan for seeking to eliminate wasteful spending and for adhering to pay-as-you-go rules. Blue Dog Co-Chairman Mike Ross (D-Ark.) described the measure as “a fiscally responsible, PAYGO-compliant budget resolution.” “The Blue Dogs take our commitment to fiscal responsibility very seriously, and this budget conference report is another example of how Democrats are working to live up to this commitment,” said Blue Dog Co-Chairman Allen Boyd (D-Fla.).


Frontline Childers

Roll Call - Mississippi: DCCC on Front Lines With Its Newcomer - The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wasted little time naming the party’s most recent House addition, Rep. Travis Childers, to its “Frontline” program, which raises money for vulnerable incumbents. After spending more than $1.5 million on Childers’ special election campaign, the DCCC is intent on protecting its investment. DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said in a statement on Monday that Childers “has hit the ground running to serve the people of North Mississippi concerned about rising gas prices and the struggling economy. ... The Frontline Program will give Congressman Childers an added boost so he can continue focusing on the issues his constituents care most about and representing their values in Washington.”

Roll Call - And a Childers Shall Lead Them - Much has been made in recent days of the work Democratic pollster John Anzalone did for newly elected Rep. Travis Childers (D) in his special election victory in the solidly Republican 1st district of Mississippi. But Childers’ media consultant in that race, Fletcher Rowley Chao Riddle Inc., has also received credit for the former Prentiss County Chancery Clerk’s win over Southaven Mayor Greg Davis (R) in a district that strongly supported President Bush in 2004. “This was the result of an incredible team effort,” FRCR President John Rowley said in a statement. “We had the perfect candidate with an amazing group of people helping him on the ground in Mississippi.”
FRCR is based in Nashville, Tenn., and at least one of the Democratic firm’s clients — Doña Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley (D), running in New Mexico’s GOP-leaning 2nd district — noted while unveiling his latest television ad that the spot was created by the same team that advised Childers in the Mississippi special. FRCR is composed of partners William Fletcher, the firm’s CEO; Rowley, the firm’s president; Ben Chao, who recently served as national political director for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s (D) presidential bid; and Mark Riddle, who in 2006 served as executive director of the Kentucky Democratic Party. The Democratic Members on FRCR’s client roster who serve in House districts that voted for Bush in 2004 include Reps. Charlie Melancon (La.), Jerry McNerney (Calif.), Zack Space (Ohio) and Tim Mahoney (Fla.).

Roll Call - Freedom’s Watch Hitting Democrats With Robocalls - Freedom’s Watch, the conservative issue advocacy group, began placing robocalls into the districts of several Democratic Members of Congress this afternoon, criticizing them for failing to finalize an Iraq War spending bill. The calls were expected to run through the Memorial Day recess. Targeted by the calls: Democratic Reps. Harry Mitchell (Ariz.), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), Jerry McNerney (Calif.), Bob Filner (Calif.), Joe Courtney (Conn.), Jim Marshall (Ga.), Melissa Bean (Ill.), Don Cazayoux (La.), Steny Hoyer (Md.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.), Travis Childers (Miss.), Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.), Shelley Berkley (Nev.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Joe Sestak (Pa.), Patrick Murphy (Pa.), Christopher Carney (Pa.), John Murtha (Pa.) and Nick Lampson (Texas).


Blue Dogs

The Associated Press - Blue Dogs building sway on the campaign trail - On a recent Saturday afternoon in small-town northern Mississippi, a little-known conservative Democratic congressman went door-knocking and restaurant-hopping as if his own career were at stake. He was campaigning for Democrat Travis Childers, who went on to win the GOP stronghold in a special election a few days later. "Hell, I wouldn't do this for myself," Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn., who has served in the House for two decades, told Childers of the door-to-door effort.

Tanner and "Blue Dog" Democrats — conservative fiscal hawks "choked blue" by their party's liberal flank — are building their own political operation to propel like-minded candidates to victory this fall.In a year when Republicans are facing an exceedingly tough political climate, the small but determined band of centrists sees an opportunity to turn more GOP districts over to Democrats.

The clearest sign they may be right: the recent victory of pro-gun, anti-abortion Childers in a district President Bush won by 25 percentage points in 2004. That came just 10 days after a special-election win for Democrat Don Cazayoux, a lawyer and state representative, in a similarly conservative district in southeastern Louisiana that Republicans had held for three decades.

"Democrats are basically running as Republicans," shrugs Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the head of Republicans' congressional campaign arm. Cole said the Blue Dog strategy boosts candidates who are "running away from their party and running away from their national nominee." If they're successful, Cole said, the conservative Democrats could be in a tough spot next year, trapped between their districts and a liberal Democratic president and congressional leadership. "You can't say you're pro-life, pro-gun, want to cut taxes and control spending, and vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker."

That dilemma has already flared on Capitol Hill. Blue Dogs recently blocked Pelosi's plan to tack a multibillion-dollar GI education benefit onto an Iraq war spending bill without paying for it, thus adding to the rising deficit. The conservative revolt within their party forced Democratic leaders to cancel a vote on the measure and add a tax surcharge on millionaires to finance the program.

The group's name is a play on yellow dog Democrats, a moniker that emerged in the 1920s to describe party loyalists in the South who, it was said, would vote for a yellow dog if it ran on the Democratic ticket. Right-of-center Democrats banded together and took on the current name after Republicans swept control of the House in 1994. The 47-member coalition gained considerable traction in 2006, when the victories of its 11 freshman members — sometimes called Blue Pups — over Republican incumbents in conservative districts helped hand Democrats control of the House. Party leaders have been forced to tailor their agenda to some degree to the group's centrist views, particularly when it comes to budget and spending matters. The coalition has more than enough members to deprive Democrats of the votes they need to push through any piece of legislation over Republican objections, particularly given the party's slim margin of control — they control 236 seats to Republicans' 199.

They've raised $1.8 million through their political action committee — the most of any leadership PAC — and plan to give the maximum $5,000 allowable by law to all their members and those they've endorsed, as well as their members' and prospects' state parties.

Nonetheless, Democratic leaders welcome their help despite the fact that the candidates Blue Dogs cultivate are likely to complicate appeals to the party's liberal base. "At the end of the day, it means more people supporting our agenda," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., his party's congressional campaign chief. "If you have a Republican in that seat, you don't get a vote on any issue. If you have a Democrat, you have an opportunity at least to get their vote."

Human Events - Blue Dog Blues by Robert Novak - Conservatives rationalized on May 13 when Republicans lost their third consecutive special Congressional election, in the supposedly safe 1st District of Mississippi. After all, they said, the victorious Democratic candidate Travis Childers, sounded more conservative during the campaign than his losing Republican candidate. He was a county official, a good old boy who the voters figured would be an independent conservative vote in the House as one of the Blue Dog Democrats.

But once in Washington, he drank the Democratic leadership’s Kool Aid. In the first 13 House roll calls contested along partisan lines after Childers took his seat in Congress, he voted with the Democrats 12 times.

Childers fit right in with the Blue Dogs elected in 2006 to give Democrats control of the House after a dozen years of a Republican majority. They won office by campaigning as independent conservatives. But in the House starting in January 2007, they have voted the Democratic line -- with no exceptions -- more than 80 percent of the time.

The Blue Dogs are different in kind than the old “Redneck Caucus” or the “Boll Weevils” -- genuinely conservative Democratic members of Congress from the South who constituted a virtual third party on Capitol Hill for half a century beginning in the mid -1930s. They collaborated so often with the Republicans in frustrating liberal initiatives, frequently proposals by a Democratic president, that the usual massive Congressional majorities were illusory.

But the South’s seats in both House and Senate once held by Boll Weevils are now mostly occupied by Republicans. The Blue Dogs come from all over the country, from districts generally conservative but not traditionally or firmly Republican. Their profile: hard-line on immigration and terrorism, highly critical of President Bush’s war policy, pro-gun and usually pro-life, contemptuous of Republican deficit spending. They pledged they would not be beholden to Nancy Pelosi in Congress.

But as House members, the Blue Dogs from the Class of ’06 have followed the Pelosi line. In HUMAN EVENTS of April 18, 2007, I tracked 10 of them who consistently voted as Speaker Pelosi wants. A survey of their performances since then shows they have not changed. Most are usually dependable votes for the majority party on issues where the leadership cracks the party whip.

Such a vote came this year on the Colombian Free Trade Agreement, which Pelosi has made a test of her authority. The staunchest pro-U.S. leader in Latin America is Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe, who is fighting an insurrection backed by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. Yet, my selected ‘06 Blue Dogs voted 9 to 1 against the trade agreement.

What is clear is that Blue Dogs are neither conservatives nor independents. They only campaign that way. They are hoping that in November they can ride through the current political ethos for at least another two years.


Dancing with who brought ya

Clarion Ledger - Letter To The Editor - Childers got his 'voting card' from Mississippi Dems - It was reported on May 31 ("Newest rep already has clout") by Clarion-Ledger contributor Ana Radelat that "Rep. Charlie Melancon of Louisiana, another conservative Democrat who campaigned for (1st District U.S. Rep Travis) Childers, said ... he hopes Childers' win encourages other Southern Democrats to run in the fall." Melancon offered advice on staying independent: "I'd tell him, 'Remember who gave you that voting card,' Melancon said, referring to the card House members use to cast floor votes. 'It wasn't the Democratic Party.'" This statement is absurd. He must have not campaigned too much; otherwise he would be aware of the 800-plus Mississippi Democrats and the effort on the part of national Democrats who assisted with nearly $2 million in funds and get-out-the-vote resources. The Democratic Party of Mississippi is composed of every voter in Mississippi who votes in the Democratic primary or considers himself/herself a supporter of Democratic Party goals. To say that Rep. Childers was not given his "voting card" by the voters of Mississippi borders on "Gumpology." Was Ms. Aradelat's quote accurate?

John Tyson
Chairman, Rankin County Democratic Party
Member, State of Mississippi Democratic Executive Committee


Childers House Web Page

Official Web Page for Congressman Travis Childers: childers.house.gov

Congressman Childers

Clarion Ledger - Newest rep already has clout - Seldom has a member of Congress had so little seniority and so much clout. Democratic 1st District Rep. Travis Childers became the newest member of the House of Representatives Tuesday to rousing applause from Democrats - and glum looks from Republicans. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland has given Childers a seat on the Agriculture Committee and said he's negotiating with him over other committee assignments. Childers said he wants a seat on the prestigious Financial Services Committee - and his status as a symbol of victory for the Democratic Party may help him get it. Political analyst Charlie Cook said winning and holding Childers' 1st District seat "is of enormous significance for Democrats," especially after the GOP tried to link Childers to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. "When you take a good old Southern boy who has never been in the room (with Obama), it's kind of hard to tarnish him that way," Cook said. Childers, who was accompanied to Washington by his wife, Tami, his daughter, Lauren, and his son, Dustin, is living in a hotel. He hopes to travel to the district every weekend to campaign. Wicker, a Republican, helped Davis campaign against Childers. But on Tuesday, he escorted Mississippians to the House gallery to watch Childers take the oath of office. Another Mississippi Republican, Pickering, escorted Childers to the House floor for the first time. But Childers' closest allies likely will be 4th District Rep. Gene Taylor and other conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats who campaigned for him. Rep. Charlie Melancon of Louisiana, another conservative Democrat who campaigned for Childers, said the Blue Dog Coalition, which has limited itself to 47 members, is looking for a way to include Childers in its ranks. "I'd tell him, 'Remember who gave you that voting card,"' Melancon said, referring to the card House members use to cast floor votes. "It wasn't the Democratic Party."

Daily Journal - U.S. Rep. Travis Childers' first speech to the House - "Today, I must begin by thanking God. By thanking my community. And by thanking the people of Mississippi's 1st District. I am humbled by the trust they have placed in me, grateful for their support and committed to working for the people of North Mississippi each and every day. I want to thank my wife, Tami, who has been by my side for 27 years and our wonderful children, Dustin and Lauren. I want to thank my mother, who always believed in me. I want to thank every person who stood with us and has been a part of my life. And I want to let everyone know that I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. As a local elected official, I worked hard and worked with both parties. I focused on balancing budgets and creating jobs. This will still be my approach and these will be my priorities in Congress. I pledge to work as hard as I can to mend our failing economy and help bring down the skyrocketing cost of gas, groceries and health care. I look forward to meeting and working with all of you. And I look forward to standing up for the values of the people who I have the honor of serving. I pledge to work every day for the people of the 1st District of the great state of Mississippi."

Daily Journal - Childers, friends feel emotion at house swearing-in - Newly sworn in U.S. Rep. Travis Childers said he caught his breath Tuesday as he walked out onto the floor of the storied House of Representatives to take the oath of office. "I've got to tell you," he said soon after, "it was about the most humbling a thing as I've ever felt in my life - I couldn't help but think ... when you've been where I've been, it couldn't help but humble you."

Daily Journal - Tidbits from Travis Childers' first day on the job - When Booneville's Travis Childers stepped out onto the U.S. House floor to take his oath of office Tuesday, he was wearing a new grey suit with a purple tie. He told the Daily Journal late last week he planned to wear a bold, red tie. But, that was before his family insisted he buy a new suit. Mississippi’s delegation “dean,” Rep. Gene Taylor of Bay St. Louis, introduced Childers to his new colleagues, noting with amazement that Childers have come to them through the political gauntlet – four wins in four elections in 63 days. Childers said he’s staying in a fancy hotel this week, but that kind of lifestyle just can’t be sustained, so the Booneville real estate businessman will be in his element later this week – he’ll be out looking for a small apartment to live in while he’s doing the people’s business. He’s hoping he can find one with just a smidgen more room than just for himself, in case any family or other homefolks want to come up to stay. Before he was sworn in, he received his member’s pin, which he said is a terrific thing – he doesn’t have to wait in line for security checks back and forth from his Rayborn House Office Building office or elsewhere. Mississippi’s congressional delegation hosted a reception for him and visiting homefolks after his swearing-in Tuesday. Childers said he’ll host a few “mock” swearing-in ceremonies in the 1st District soon. Definitely in Booneville and maybe others in the northwest and southern parts of the district, he said Tuesday.

Daily Journal - Childers draws issues vote as his first - Timing is everything. Otherwise, new U.S. Rep. Travis Childers' first vote in the hallowed House of Representatives on Tuesday would have been in support of Frank Sinatra Day, which was May 13, to mark the issuance of a stamp with the crooner's young face on it. As it turned out, his first vote was for House Resolution 6074, the so-called Gas Price Relief for Consumers Act of 2008, which holds foreign oil-producing counties or cartels liable in U.S. courts for engaging in price-fixing or other anti-competitive activities. It passed 324-84 with 26 members not voting. The Sinatra Day vote was his second. Despite its lack of gravitas, the Sinatra bill, with Childers' support, passed by a hefty 402-3, with 29 non-votes.


The Hill: Some GOPers blame Lott

TheHill.com - Some blame Lott for tough GOP defeat in Mississippi - House GOP leaders have taken the blame for last week’s devastating loss in Mississippi, but in some Republican circles the real culprit is former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss). Lott created the House opening by opting to leave Congress late last year before tougher lobbying restrictions went into effect. After his departure, Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) was appointed to serve out Lott’s unexpired term, which created the need for the special election to fill Wicker’s seat. Republicans were irked that Lott would retire early just to serve his own financial interests. Lott also bucked his own Mississippi congressional colleagues by supporting Greg Davis, the Southaven mayor and former state legislator who lost to Democrat Travis Childers. The rest of the delegation backed former Tupelo mayor and former Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Chairman Glenn McCullough Jr. The senior statesman’s decision to go against his delegation contributed to a bruising, hard-fought primary runoff that left Mississippi GOP voters divided — and, quite possibly, left the stronger general-election candidate on the sidelines. One GOP lobbyist on K Street also cited Lott’s $200,000 gift to his alma mater, the University of Mississippi, as contributing to the perception that he’s not doing everything he can to help House Republican reelection efforts. That money, the source said, would have been better spent on contributions to GOP campaigns across the country.


Pickering and Thompson on First District

Third District Representative Chip Pickering (R) and Second District Representative Bennie Thompson (D) comment on the First District Race in this MPB story. Pickering says, "It is a wake up call not only for us in Mississippi, but nationally as a party as Republicans, what our message is, what our agenda is, and I do think we should look in the mirror." Thompson says, "I think it will be tough to take a seat back from an incumbent, especially one that who is a seasoned politician at the local level, one who has run four times in two months and still has energy at the end of those elections."

Following a House Republican Conference meeting after the Childers victory, Pickering expressed similar thoughts saying, "We're not going to be able to scare people into voting Republicans by being against Barack Obama. You have to have a relevant agenda and a compelling reason to vote Republican."

Rothenberg on Childers and Davis

Stuart Rothenberg - Mississippi Special: Why Childers Won and Why Davis Lost

Coulter on Childers

Ann Coulter - Democrats' Hybrid Pickup Trucks


Childers 54% - Davis 46%

Real Clear Politics - GOP Stunned By Loss in Mississippi

Associated Press - Democrat in Wicker's House seat

Daily Journal - Childers thanks God, family

Daily Journal - Davis resolute about winning in November

National Journal - Make That 236 For Dems

Daily Journal - It's Congressman Childers

The Hill - Childers victory gives Dems a third straight takeover

CQ - House Takeover in Mississippi Shows Good Things Come in Threes for Dems

Southern Political Report - Mississippi: Democrat Childers Wins Congressional Race

Clarion Ledger - Democrat wins congressional race

Human Events - Is Dem Win in Mississippi Shape of Things to Come?

Politico - Democrat Wins Mississippi Special Election

Roll Call: Plenty at Stake in Mississippi

Plenty at Stake in Mississippi
May 13, 2008 - Roll Call
By John McArdle and Lauren W. Whittington,
Roll Call Staff

After back-to-back Democratic victories in competitive special elections this spring Democrats have a golden opportunity today to land a crushing blow to GOP confidence just six months before the November elections.

A win in the special House election taking place in Mississippi’s 1st district would be a hat-trick of historic proportions for a party that is already excited about its prospects for picking up seats in the House this cycle.

For Republicans, the contest for the seat of now-Sen. Roger Wicker (R) is a no excuses affair and a chance for the party to prove that the general election isn’t shaping up to be the doomsday that many insiders are beginning to predict.

The stakes really are that high today in what is being called a tossup race between Southaven Mayor Greg Davis (R) and Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers (D).

As of Sunday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was approaching the $2 million mark in independent expenditures spent this year on a seat that, during Wicker’s seven terms, was safely in the Republican column.

The National Republican Congressional Committee had dropped more than $1.27 million in independent expenditures in the 1st district as of Friday and has worked to bring key party celebrities leading up to today’s vote. On Monday, Vice President Cheney made a campaign stop for Davis in Southhaven and Wicker, former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and popular Gov. Haley Barbour (R) all have stumped for Davis.

Meanwhile the conservative political group Freedom’s Watch has also played heavily in this race with about $450,000 in ad buys and Davis and Childers’ recent Federal Election Commission contribution reports read like a veritable Who’s Who of Members of Congress and political action committees.

In the three weeks since the first ballot of the special election — where Childers outperformed Davis but came up just 410 votes shy of locking up the special election outright — Republicans have actively tried to turn this runoff into a purely partisan battle rather than a contest between two conservative candidates.

“In the first vote, turnout was down for us and turnout was up for Travis,” Davis spokesman Ted Prill said on Monday. “I think we’ve righted that ship. We’ve not only given them a reason to vote for us but also given them a reason to vote against Travis. We really didn’t have a lot of time to do that last time around” due to the fact that the special election was held just three weeks after the primary runoffs in April.

The Davis campaign has run ads blasting Childers for his ties to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and for not condemning the words of Obama’s controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The NRCC has been happy to do the same.

Childers acknowledged Monday that the campaign has turned decidedly negative but said Davis and the national Republican interests are to blame.

“They are running scared,” he said, because Democrats have outperformed Republicans in the both primary elections and Davis came in second on the first special election ballot.

But like the first round of the special election, the two candidates’ names will appear on the ballot today without their party affiliations — a decided advantage for Childers.

Another theme that has emerged in this race is the regional battle between Davis’ base in DeSoto County — the suburban Memphis county that is the district’s most populous Republican stronghold — and Childers’ base in and around Tupelo, where Wicker is also from.

During Wicker’s time in the House the district was described by many Republicans in the state as a Tupelo seat and Democrats would be happy to let that trend continue now that Childers has emerged as the Tupelo candidate.

In the primary race, the primary runoff and the first ballot of the special election — all of which have taken place over the last nine weeks — Davis has consistently churned out enough votes in DeSoto to make up for his shortcomings elsewhere in the district.

Although he won 81 percent in Desoto three weeks ago and turned out about a third of his district vote total there, Republican sources say he’ll have to do even better there today if he hopes to catch Childers.

Childers won 16 of the district’s 24 counties on the first runoff ballot in April, earning 49 percent to Davis’ 46 percent.

“We’ve always said we are the rural county candidate in this race and of the 24 counties 20 of these counties are clearly still rural counties … and that’s a complement not an insult,” Childers said Monday.

In the final days of the runoff, the Davis campaign has also turned a good deal of attention to Lee County, the strongly Republican county where Tupelo is located.

Lee County had been Wicker’s base during his time in the House but Childers took 58 percent of the vote there three weeks ago.

Some Mississippi political insiders have attributed Davis’ underperformance in Lee County to residual bad feelings left over from his nasty primary against former Tupelo Mayor Glenn McCullough (R) in early April.

“I think that the biggest problem for Greg Davis is that at no point in the campaign was there a real clear of coming together of the rift that occurred in the primary,” said Richard Forgette, the chairman of the University of Mississippi political science department.

By contrast, Childers primary campaign against state Rep. Steve Holland (D) was a generally positive affair and Holland, who is also from Tupelo, has emerged as a vocal cheerleader for Childers’ campaign since the special began.

Davis’ spokesman said the Southhaven Mayor has set his sights on boosting his Lee County numbers this time around and is confident those efforts will pay off today.

Davis “has gotten to know Highway 78 between Southhaven and Tupelo real well,” Prill said.

Wicker, Barbour and Mississippi Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) were all stumping for Davis Monday in Tupelo but Childers is also trying to pick up votes in Davis’ backyard. Over the weekend, he landed the endorsement of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, a major paper in DeSoto County.

Meanwhile Lott, who supported Davis during the primary, spoke at the state Republican convention over the weekend and on Mississippi talk radio Monday about the need for Republicans to look beyond regional conflicts.

Brian Perry, a Mississippi political consultant who was at the Republican convention, said that Lott was encouraging Republicans in the eastern part of the district to join Republicans in DeSoto county in voting for Davis “because in the end it’s that conservative Republican ideology that wins. ... If they don’t support Davis and Childers gets in it would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

On Capitol Hill, another special election loss would deliver a devastating blow to Republican morale.

House GOP leaders are slated to begin rolling out a set of agenda and message items on Wednesday, the same day they may be forced to explain a loss in Mississippi — which would be the third special election loss for the GOP this year.

Privately, many Republicans are waiting to see what reasons the NRCC will give if the party fails to hold the Mississippi seat, after Republican leaders clung to the argument that their nominees in the two previous special elections were seriously flawed.

While the GOP candidates in Illinois and Louisiana carried personal and political baggage, geography would appear to be Davis’ biggest handicap. Some wonder whether losing Mississippi will serve as a wake up call that the problem might not be the candidates, but the party brand.

“Sooner or later that flawed candidate excuse is going to come down to there’s an R after the name,” said one GOP aide.

There has been talk that a loss tonight could prompt growing calls for more drastic changes at the NRCC, however the consensus now among most Republicans on the Hill is that the time has passed to be able to make major structural changes.

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned the GOP Conference last week that the loss in Louisiana on May 3 should serve as a wake up call for Members to get serious about what is at stake this fall or suffer major losses at the polls.

Some Republicans are also hoping that the results in Mississippi will spur GOP Members — rank and file and ranking committee members alike — to get more active in giving and raising money for the financially handicapped NRCC. Party leaders have been frustrated by a largely laissez faire attitude toward pitching in to help with fundraising for the cause thus far.

“What I hope comes out of it is that Members — more than they have done so far — start picking up the phone and donating some money,” said the GOP aide. “Are you going to grab a bucket and start bailing water out of the boat or are you going to drown?”

DCCC Hits Greg Davis With KKK

RightOfMississippi: DCCC Tries To Launch An All Out Race War In MS-01

Y'all: MS-01 - Greg Davis (R) vs. Travis Childers (D) - West vs. East - Vets vs. Ag - and the last minute desperate tactics . . .

(Images from RightofMississippi)

As ROM points out, the DCCC says "Greg Davis wanted to honor the founder of the KKK with a statue in Southaven" and also said the statue was of "the first Grand Wizard." But in reality, the statue was of Jefferson Davis who was not the founder and never in the KKK. In fact, another place that has a statue of Jefferson Davis is the United States Capitol Building. Jefferson Davis is one of the two statues representing Mississippi, along with James Z. George. Furthermore, Senator Thad Cochran uses the desk of Jefferson Davis in the Capitol, one of two "heritage desks" (the other goes to Massachusetts Senior Senator and belonged to Daniel Webster).

ROM further notes that the "founder of the KKK statue" (Nathan Bedford Forrest) was wanted by the Mayor of Horn Lake.

So the DCCC has attacked the wrong mayor for the wrong statue.


The Hill - DCCC links Davis to KKK founder’s statue - The DCCC stood by the flier. “The flier is factual, a part of the public record, and has been in the press many times -— voters deserve to know Davis's record,” DCCC spokeswoman Jennifer Crider said in a statement. Childers spokesman Terry R. Cassreino distanced the campaign from the mailer: “It’s not from our campaign, and we know nothing about it. We are totally focused today on reminding as many voters as possible to get out and vote.”

Michelle Malking (HT: Y'all) - Dirty race-card tricks in Mississippi: The KKK ploy


Davis on Veterans

Politico - Davis promised seat on Veterans' Affairs - Republicans have promised Greg Davis a spot on the Veterans' Affairs Committee should be win next Tuesday. Veterans' Affairs isn't always the most coveted committee on Capitol Hill, but the congressional district includes Columbus Air Force Base, and veterans account for nearly 12 percent of the population.

Another election tomorrow

WREG-TV Memphis: VP Cheney Visits Southaven

NPR Morning Edition: Democrats Aim to Take Mississippi Seat from GOP

PalmBeachPost.com: Mahoney chief-of-staff helping Childers

SwingStateProject: MS-01 The Final Push Begins


Childers on Ag

CBSnews - A Seat On The Ag Committee Awaits Childers - Democrat Travis Childers is not yet an elected member of Congress, but party leaders are already keeping a seat on the Agriculture Committee warm for him should he be successful in the Mississippi special election on Tuesday. Should Childers beat Republican Greg Davis, the newest member of Congress would come to Washington as lawmakers finish work on a massive farm bill, legislation loaded with subsidies for farmers across the country - including those in the rural parts of the district Childers needs most to pick up the GOP seat. Lawmakers wrapped up work on that farm bill on Thursday, but Childers could still get some easy headlines if Congress approves it next week. It might even be one of his first votes, should he be successful on Tuesday. Childers and Davis are locked in a tight race to replace Republican Sen. Roger Wicker in the northeastern Mississippi district. GOP lawmakers in the House fear another special election loss could spark a wave of infighting that will make it more difficult to hold seats - or pick them up - in November. A Democratic leadership aide confirmed Thursday that Childers would be appointed to the Agriculture Committee if he wins next week. That news could give him a boost where he needs it most; the Democrat is trying to play the rural parts of the district against the more suburban communities outside Memphis, where Davis resides. Even Republicans have acknowledged their candidate has come from the "wrong" part of the district politically.

Gas for Votes

WCBI - Childers Giving Out Cheap Gas

RealClearPolitics - The Ol' Cheap Gas Trick - Despite the storms and tornadoes plaguing Tupelo, Mississippi today, Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers is making three stops around the First District today to offer a few lucky motorists some relief at the gas pump. Childers, the Democratic candidate in Tuesday's special primary runoff election, plans to pump gas at stations in Grenada, Columbus and Tupelo, charging the first fifty drivers at each location just $1.25 a gallon, for up to 10 gallons of gas. According to a state Democratic Party press release, that was the price of gas on March 5, 1997, "the day Republican Greg Davis voted in the state Legislature to increase the state tax on a barrel of oil produced in Mississippi." The tactic comes from a Democratic challenger in North Carolina's 8th District, who ran one of the more unique races of 2006. Larry Kissell, who lost by only 329 votes to GOP Rep. Robin Hayes, may be best-remembered for the campaign mascot he brought to events -- a goat he named CAFTA to highlight Hayes's vote in support of the issue. But Kissell also sold gas to voters at $1.22 a gallon, the price when Hayes took office in 1998. The move gave Kissell, who was outspent four-to-one, the kind of media attention he needed, though without the DCCC's help he fell just short of an upset. Childers finds himself in far better position to win the seat than Kissell in 2006. Despite the Republican tilt of the district, Childers led Davis 49%-46% in the April 22 special primary, but was forced to a runoff because he didn't win more than half the votes. Childers is also enjoying strong support from the DCCC, which sees another great opportunity to pick up a Republican seat before the 2008 elections even take place.

Daily Journal - Travis Childers to lower gas prices on three campaign stops - Travis Childers temporarily will roll back the price of gas and outline his plans to reduce the skyrocketing cost of gas during his "Fed Up While you Fill Up" tour today. Childers, the Democrat running in the May 13 election for the 1st District U.S. House seat, will have three different stops in North Mississippi throughout the day:
- 11 a.m.: Grenada, Kent's Citgo, 709 Lakeview Drive
- 3 p.m.: Columbus, Express Mart No. 7, 1604 Gardner Blvd.
- 5 p.m.: Tupelo, Speeedy Gonzales EZ Stop, 1725 N. Gloster St.
Childers will offer the first 50 motorists at each location up to 10 gallons of gas for $1.25 a gallon - the average price of gas in Mississippi on March 5, 1997, the day Republican candidate Greg Davis voted in the state Legislature to increase the state tax on a barrel of oil produced in Mississippi.


The Hill: Davis campaign changes tune on FEC reports

The Hill - Davis campaign changes tune - Southaven Mayor Greg Davis’s (R) special-election campaign on Wednesday struggled to explain abnormally long delays in its Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings days before a special election for a Mississippi House seat that Republicans are desperate to win.

Davis’s campaign on Wednesday filed its first 48-hour report since Friday. That followed another span of eight days between 48-hour reports, which are due within two days of receiving any contribution of $1,000 or more in the weeks immediately preceding an election.

Officials for Davis’s campaign gave various reasons for the lapses in FEC reports.

Davis campaign spokesman Ted Prill initially told The Hill that the campaign was under the impression that weekends didn’t count toward the 48-hour window, which along with a lack of large contributions explained the long spans between reports. FEC rules, however, state that weekends count just like regular days.

Davis’s campaign treasurer, Chuck Roberts, then said the campaign merely didn’t check its mail for contributions over the weekend because nobody was at the office, meaning that anything sent over this past weekend wasn’t actually received until Monday.

The FEC generally tells candidates that they should count delivery time as time of receipt, instead of when they pick something up.

According to the FEC website, since the end of the last filing period, April 23, Davis had filed just two 48-hour reports before Wednesday, leaving spans of several days in which his campaign reported no contributions of $1,000 or more.

Prill and Roberts both said there were indeed long spans with no large contributions. “We didn’t receive any other contributions that were over the $1,000 limit until the 30th, which is why we filed again on the 2nd,” Roberts said. The report filed Friday showed contributions from April 30 through Friday, totaling more than $100,000. A 48-hour report with contributions totaling $47,000 was posted late Wednesday afternoon to the FEC website. Roberts said the campaign was set to file another shortly, and 48-hour reports would probably follow almost daily as Tuesday’s election approaches.

Sanders Shames

Houston's City Clerk Bobby Sanders has choice words for both Childers and Davis.

Daily Journal Letter-to-the-Editor - Shame on Davis, Childers for 'pig-sty' politics - I write this as a letter to Mr. Greg Davis (R) and Mr. Travis Childers (D), candidates for Congress in the 1st Congressional District special election on May 13: Having met each of you and having known of each of you by reputation and by good reference, I am led to believe that you are both good and honorable men. And, since you are both sworn public officials, there can be no doubt that you speak truly and accurately.

Therefore, I must believe that the tremendous quantity of slick, expensive mailers I have received over the past couple of weeks contain not only precise, technical truth but that the spirit and tenor of the information are also to be deemed truthful and complete.

Now that I have learned what sorry, low-down scum both of you really are by your own mutual statements, I rather conclude that you are more deserving of being shot at sunrise than elected to the Congress! As I went to the polls on the last election day, I am searched my heart to find a plausible excuse to vote for either of you, for it surely goes deeply against my principles to send an outlaw to represent me and my family.

In the final moments of indecision, I realized that you two honorable gentlemen had already told me exactly what I must do, so I proudly cast my vote for Mr. Pang. Not because I knew Mr. Pang well or because he has convinced me that he can solve all our problems overnight, but because among you, he alone seemed to be the honorable and respectable gentleman that I thought you all were.

Now, Mr. Davis and Mr. Childers, please don't take this sarcastic statement as a personal indictment, because I really do believe that each of you wants to be a good public servant. I really do believe that your dedication to task and your love of your homeland have enabled you both to be of great service to humanity in general and more specifically to the constituents you have served all these years. Just now I am disappointed beyond description with the nasty, hateful, cloudy-truth campaigns you have waged. You have mutually sullied not only each other, but the very concept of public office! There are other good people in this state and nation who would be of tremendous public service were they not deterred by the pig-sty of modern politics.

I realize that you do not shoulder this blame alone -your respective political parties have aided, abetted, encouraged, and financed much of the ugliness and rancor of this campaign. And I am equally as disappointed with those parties as they proclaim in God-like fashion that they and their goose-stepping minions are the only ones with moral authority to lead us out of the hopeless morass which they have in fact fostered by their own irresponsible partisan politics.

I am myself an appointed public official, and I have no doubt that the mere voicing of the sentiments I express here will come back to haunt me. Be that as it may …

The time has come. It’s time for free-thinking individuals to stand up and declare that they will no longer be led down the primrose path by simplistic and mean-spirited people with extremely questionable motives. And today, I have cast down my personal gauntlet! I hereby publicly declare my independence from the tyranny of party politics and serve notice that I will hereafter vote my convictions, not those of any party or power-mad group of self-appointed keepers of the public trust. How I yearn for my elected public servants to adopt a similar philosophy!

To quote the lovely grandmotherly type in the ever-present and obnoxious television spot: "Greg Davis, shame on you!" And, Travis Childers – shame on you, too.