The Corner

A scare in Mississippi

You may have missed the near Democratic takeover of a solidly Republican seat in Mississippi on Tuesday. The leading Democratic candidate, Travis Childers, received 49.4 percent of the vote, coming up just short of the absolute majority he needed. Greg Davis, the only serious Republican in the race, received 46.3 percent.

Democrats may still take over this seat next month in the runoff. Is the “Solid South” returning to the Dems?

And even as John McCain looks more and more like a prohibitive frontrunner on the presidential level, Congressional Republicans appear as shaky as ever.

UPDATE

From a reader in the District:

If Childers wins, you can safely place the blame on President Bush, who gets all the blame around here for soaring gas prices – $3.49 a gallon just down the street. Also, the National Republican Congressional Committee is running attack ads against Childers, which don’t go over well in rural areas. (Childers has at least one negative ad running against Davis, too).

FYI, I participated in a debate panel of journalists at Ole Miss last week and got to ask both Davis and Childers a question. Childers did not answer my question, “Whom did you vote for for president in 2000 and 2004?” His first answer – and I’m not kidding – was, “I can’t remember.” He went on to talk about the deficit and the debt his children will endure, etc., etc. But he never said who he voted for.

A question from another reader:

I am interested in your opinion that the Republicans cannot start to regain ground in Congress even if Senator McCain wins the Presidency this year. As the elections of 1998 and 2002 showed the incumbent party does not always loss seats in the midterm elections, and the Democrats are picking up a large number of Republican learning seats. If nothing else I would like to think that even the Democrats can have a bad election cycle or two now and then.

It’s not that the Republicans cannot gain ground, or that the Democrats cannot have a bad cycle. It’s just that both appear very doubtful right now for 2008. This has been my opinion for at least eight months and I have not changed it. My old boss Robert Novak offers the same assessment because that’s how the seats are lining up right now. And we have a recent precedent of the no-coattails presidential victory in 2000. People tend to forget that Republicans nearly lost the House and effectively lost the Senate even as George W. Bush narrowly won the presidency.

And from a third:

[A]ccording to the betting markets (you do believe in markets right?) Mccain is a decided underdog to Obama with McCain around a 40% shot and Obama near 50%. The rest is made up by Hillary 12%, Gore, etc. Would you care to re-affirm a belief in the utility of markets by correcting your statement?

I have not checked the futures markets to verify any of the above quotes, but assuming they are correct, my answer is: Absolutely not. I do believe in markets — including futures markets — because they correct themselves as better information emerges. Those who buy low often make money later by selling high. (That does not constitute a recommendation to start gambling on elections.)

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