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.


National Journal - No Childers Left Behind - The DCCC had already spent north of $400K in the race to replace Wicker, but "in the last half-week," MS residents "will see little else on television except" the DCCC's newest ad. The DCCC reported it has purchased $700K in advertising in the CD, "an incredible expenditure that brings the party's total spending on the seat to just over" $1.1M. GOPers, meanwhile, are on the air with their own advertising, hitting Prentiss Co. Chancery Clerk Travis Childers (D) over his associations with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-08) and Barack Obama. The GOP has put about $592K into keeping the seat, and "those ads must have been working, as Childers himself put up a response." "Make no mistake, Childers should be considered the front-runner" over Southaven Mayor Greg Davis (R). Childers won more votes in the 4/22 first round, and Dems "are spending hugely to win over the seat. While Davis still retains a solid opportunity to keep the district" in GOP hands, "he's being outspent and out-advertised," and he's "from the wrong part of the district" (RealClearPolitics.com, 5/1).

Daily Journal - Both parties spending plenty of money - Republicans and Democrats continued their spending ways to try to influence the outcome of the May 13 nonparty runoff pitting Southaven Mayor Greg Davis and Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers - with the GOP surpassing the $1 million mark Tuesday. Democrats reached that level of financing last week. Childers, a Democrat, and Davis, a Republican, are running for the 1st District seat in the U.S. House. Tuesday, the following spending was reported to the Federal Election Commission:

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee:
- $3,940 - field organizing
- $30,567.54 - mailing services
- $62,742.75 - media buy
- Year-to-date - $1,389,318

National Republican Congressional Committee:
- $8,800 - survey
- $12,135 - media production
- $27,150.62 - mailing services
- Year-to-date - $1,031,442.86


Cheney to stump for Davis

Commercial Appeal - Cheney to stump for Davis - One of the Republican party's biggest guns, Vice President Dick Cheney, will come to DeSoto County Monday to bolster the congressional bid of Southaven Mayor Greg Davis. The White House confirmed Monday that Cheney will stump for Davis on the eve of his runoff with Democrat Travis Childers to fill the 1st District House seat until January. The rally at the DeSoto Civic Center, Interstate 55 at Church Road, will begin at 3 p.m. Cheney is expected to attend just the one campaign event, spokesman Jamie Hennigan said. To RSVP for Monday's event, call the Davis campaign line at (662) 996-1114 or go to gregdavisforcongress.com for more information.

Wonkette: Childers Wears Women's Undergarments

Wonkette - Meanwhile, In America's Most Comical Special Election - Thanks to commenter queeraselvis for pointing out that Greg Davis, the GOP candidate in a special election to fill an open Mississippi House seat, will enlist the Dark Lord himself, Dick Cheney, to campaign the day before next Tuesday's election. Cheney, of course, is the polar opposite of Barack Obama, the #1 terrorist and cheerleader of Davis' opponent Travis Childers. When asked about Cheney's emergency involvement, Childers said nothing. Childers rarely says anything about anything, because he is a member of the radical liberal Democrat party. Watch this: TRAVIS CHILDERS WEARS WOMEN'S UNDERGARMENTS! We can write that since Travis Childers is incapable of denying it, because he says nothing.

Human Events: Childers and Obama

Human Events - Outing Travis Childers’s Secret Affair With Barack Obama - Davis has now resorted to tactics which have Childers crying foul. In this heavily Republican, conservative district, Davis dared to out Childers. Davis showed all the support Childers has gotten behind the scenes from the Obama campaign.

Team Obama pitched Travis Childers hard. The campaign encouraged its supporters to contribute to Childers and organized its supporters on the ground into a grassroots effort for Childers. And active support by Barack Obama is pretty close to the kiss of death in a district like Mississippi One. The only thing Childers could do was run to the media and cry foul -- he denied there was ever an endorsement and denied receiving any help from the campaign.

The Davis campaign was all too happy to respond showing screenshots from the Obama campaign encouraging support for Childers and showing emails from the Obama campaign supporting Childers.

Faced with Davis’s evidence, Childers had to deny his relationship with Obama a second time via commercials. RedState noted the irony that Childers is taking thousands of dollars from far left Obama activists to run television ads distancing himself from Obama. As Moe Lane noted, someone needs to get a rooster on standby for Childers’s third denial.

Greg Davis has done a valuable service for the people of Mississippi in showing Childers’s ties to the Obama campaign, and he has done the nation a valuable service showing just how fast a lot of Democrats will run hurriedly in the opposite direction from Obama should he be the nominee.

Huck on Davis

Mike Huckabee on Greg Davis as Mayor

Mike Huckabee on MS-1 Race

Mike Huckabee on Voting



Daily Journal - 1st District race draws big money - $3 million - North Mississippi's 1st District congressional race has cost more than $3 million, and it still has two more showdowns before it's done for 2008.

Federal Election Commission pre-runoff reports filed by midnight Thursday show Democrat Travis Childers has raised $484,378, and Republican Greg Davis has raised $861,160.

That's not counting what the national parties have spent - $1.1 million by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and $600,787 by the Republican National Congressional Committee.

By comparison, the previous officeholder - Roger Wicker of Tupelo - spent $1,283,515 against a reasonably strong Democratic challenge in 2000, although Wicker won by nearly 85,000 votes.

With national Democrats sensing the possibility of retaking the seat, the DCCC just bought $702,000 campaign advertising for Childers. Earlier this week Politico reported a $500,000 investment by the NRCC, Davis' campaign and the conservative advocacy group Freedom's Watch for ads connecting Childers and Louisiana Democrat candidate Don Cazayoux to presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama. The Louisiana special election is today.

Daily Journal - Top Contributors in 1st District Race

CHILDERS – $2,300 – John Bradley, Oxford; Johnny Crane, Fulton; Danny Cupit, Jackson; Jimmy Murphy, Booneville. Of Note – Ricky Cummings, Iuka, $300; Gale Denley, Bruce, $300; Wayne Dowdy, Magnolia, $500; Dr. Richard Heyer, Tupelo, $1,000; Gerald Hill, Kenneth Hill, Rob Hill, Faulkner, $1,000 each; Shane Langston, Jackson, $1,500; Bobby Martin, Ripley, $1,000; Helen Rebecca Meek, Oxford, $1,000; Bill Minor, Holly Springs, $200; Guy Mitchell III,Tupelo, $1,000; Dick Molpus, Jackson, $1,000; Mike Moore, Flowood, $500; Johnny Morgan, Oxford, $1,000; E.C. Neelly, Tupelo, $250; Mary Ellis Pace, Tupelo, $1,000; Jack R. Reed Jr., Tupelo, $500; Rep. Tommy Reynolds, Water Valley, $1,600; James L. Robertson, Jackson, $500; Jason Shelton, Tupelo, $1,000; Sen. Gray Tollison, Oxford, $500; Sen. Bennie Turner, West Point, $500; William Waller, Jackson, $500; Gloria Williamson, Philadelphia, $500; John Windsor, Jackson, $200; William Winter, Jackson, $400; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $5,000 and $5,000.

DAVIS – $2,300 – James Barksdale, Ridgeland; Neal Clement, Tupelo; Laverne Davis, Southaven; R.H. Dunlap, Batesville; Dr. John Fullenwider, Oxford; Will Gravlee, Allen, Texas; Kenny Hill, Ripley; Mark Johnson, Cordova, Tenn.; Danny McAlister, Ripley; Luke Montgomery, Fulton; Jan Mounger, Jackson; William Mounger, Jackson; Penn Owen, Robinsonville; Greg Rader, Columbus; David Rozier, Oxford; Joe Whitfield, Olive Branch; Paul Whitfield, Hernando; Cal Wilkins, Memphis; Linda Wilkins, Memphis. Of Note – Eddie Briggs, Madison, $1,000; Sen. Merle Flowers, Southaven, $1,000; Eddie Fritts, McLean, Va., $1,000; Delbert Hosemann, Jackson, $1,000; Stuart Irby, Jackson, $1,000; John Keast, Manassas, Va., $500; Alwyn Luckey, Ocean Springs, $250; John Oxford, Tupelo, $1,000; John Palmer, Jackson, $1,000; Kelly Segars, Iuka, $1,000; Lester Spell, Richland, $500; Tommy Woods, Byhalia, $500; BancorpSouth Bank PAC, $2,500; Haley’s PAC, Jackson, $5,000; National Republican Congressional Committee, $3,500; Trent Lott for Mississippi, $4,000.


Roll Call: Childers Seeks Distance From Obama in New Ad

Roll Call
Mississippi: Childers Seeks Distance From Obama in New Ad
By: John McArdle

In the tight 1st district special election that now is less than two weeks away, Democrat Travis Childers released a new ad Wednesday in response to attempts by Republicans to link his campaign to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.).

Republicans have actively tried to turn this runoff — Childers outperformed Republican Greg Davis on the first ballot in April — into a purely partisan battle rather than a contest between two conservative candidates. The Davis campaign has run ads blasting Childers for his ties to the Obama campaign and for not condemning the words of Obama’s controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

“This campaign has been one for the books,” Childers says in his new ads. “My family has heard the lies and attacks linking me to politicians I don’t know and have never even met.”

Childers goes on to say that the 1st district race should be about the local issues that are important to northern Mississippi.

Republicans, however, were happy to continue to discuss the national implications of Childers distancing himself from Obama.

“Travis Childers has resorted to lying about Barack Obama in order to save his candidacy,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain said. “His new television ad not only says a lot about himself, but also about the toxicity an Obama candidacy can bring to Democratic campaigns down-ballot.”

Huckabee for Davis

Governor Mike Huckabee will attend a "Meet and Greet" with Greg Davis and his supporters this Saturday, May 3rd at 9:45AM at Joe Joe’s Espresso & CafĂ© in Tupelo, MS. The public is invited. HatTip: Massachusetts for Huckabee

Libs turn on Childers for turning on Obama

ROM has posted comments from people regarding Childers' rejection of Obama. ROM mentions DailyKos, the godfather of liberal blogs, saying, What do you think? The title of the Republican attack ad is “Conservatives Can’t Trust Travis Childers?” But can we?

The Thorn Papers has this message for Childers:

The next time someone sticks a microphone in your face and tries to play "gotcha" with a reference to Barrack Obama, remember this:

By hedging your bets against another Democrat, you provide aid and comfort to your electoral enemy and allow the GOP to continue to hammer home their same tired old saws about "Washington liberals," trying to make you run from your party and make you look weak, waffley, and two-faced.

Obama may not have officially endorsed you but he did indeed lend a (perhaps unsolicited) hand by urging his supporters to make calls on your behalf. That's what Democrats do. It's good for the candidate, the party, the movement and ultimately, the country.