GOP Can't Win Down Ticket by Tying Dems to Obama

| Thu May 15, 2008 1:18 PM EDT

Not in the South, anyway. As you probably know, Democrat Travis Childers won a special election on Tuesday in a conservative Mississippi congressional district, scoring a big upset for the Dems that many political observers say is a sign of Democratic victories to come. The Republicans botched one part of the strategy, apparently (from the Times, via the Stump):

But the Republican strategy of trying to link Mr. Childers to more liberal national Democratic figures fell short, as it did in Louisiana. Indeed, voters here were bombarded by advertisements equating Mr. Childers with Senator Barack Obama, a tactic intended to turn conservative whites away from Mr. Childers.... [It] may have helped Mr. Childers more than it hurt him, as campaign aides reported heavy black turnout, heavier than in a vote three weeks ago when he came within 400 votes of winning.

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"I like what Childers was saying: he was more truthful and down to earth," said Mary Shelton, an African-American who had just voted for him at the Yalobusha County courthouse here.

And Mr. Childers's association with the party that might nominate Mr. Obama didn't hurt either. "We need a change, we really do," Ms. Shelton said.

Mr. Childers won Yalobusha, having lost it in the April vote.

And even in this district, it is not difficult to find conservative voters dissatisfied with the administration in Washington. "There's a lot of people that are mad at Bush," said Jim Jennings, a retired businessman, sitting at a table with Republican voters at a barbecue restaurant in DeSoto County.