So can Childers make a real race of this? The traditional prognosticators -- CQ, Cook (friend of SSP), et al -- currently rate the seat as "Safe Republican". It's hard to fault them for that -- after all, this is an R+10 Southern seat that Bush won with 62% of the vote in 2004. But I subscribe to a different view, and the Swing State Project currently puts this race at the more competitive rating of Likely Republican....Make no mistake -- this seat is an uphill climb for Childers, but it by no means can be written off completely. With his support in county courthouse circles, his economic populism, and a regional rift to play to his advantage, Childers can make this seemingly-sleepy special election a race to watch.
The mainstream press is following this story. The Commercial Appeal writes:
So Davis should have it made, right? Well, maybe, maybe not. Although partisan voting trends certainly seem to be in his favor, Davis faces several serious challenges in both upcoming elections. Voter fatigue could be a problem. The April 22 election will be the third in six weeks for the district's voters....Davis also must try to broaden his base beyond DeSoto and surrounding counties. In his win over McCullough, Davis carried only six of the district's 24 counties....Being from DeSoto could put Davis in a somewhat awkward spot in the heavily rural district, though....Davis may also face some difficulties in drawing distinctions between himself and Childers. Although he's a Democrat, Childers has conservative views on many issues. And as a court clerk, he doesn't have a legislative record that's easy for Davis to analyze and attack. And after attacking and counterattacking McCullough's negative ads in two successive campaigns, Davis runs the risk of alienating some voters if he uses similar tactics against Childers. None of which means that Davis is doomed. King, the Ole Miss professor, said Childers is unlikely to get a lot of fundraising help from the Democratic National Committee, which may decide to funnel more of its resources into races that seem like safer bets. Also, it would be a mistake to underestimate the voting strength of DeSoto residents, who carried Davis to victory after he finished second behind McCullough in the primary.
UPDATE: RightOfMississippi says on this subject:
Question: Does Travis Childers Have a Chance?
Someone over at DailyKos and our friends at Cottonmouth are really trying to sell a bill of goods that says Travis Childers has a chance in NE MS. They forget one important fact; Haley Barbour is the Governor of Mississippi, he made the Senate appointment and I hardly doubt that our good Governor would stand by and not put the full efforts of the MS GOP towards retaining this seat.
Plus everyone already knows that Travis Childers is a shady fellow, just look at who he hangs out with, using his office to make sweet-heart land deals. This is a very well known fact in Prentiss County.
In a year that might be good for Democrats nationwide, they better look somewhere else than here in Mississippi. We think Greg Davis has a pretty good shot at taking the election on the first ballot April 22nd.