wasn’t even close. DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen is, to put it mildly, very happy:
“Congratulations to Travis Childers on his stunning victory. His victory has sent a political thunderbolt across America tonight. It is yet another rejection of the House Republican agenda, the Bush Administration’s misguided policies, and John McCain’s campaign for a third Bush term.
“For the first time in more than 30 years the Democratic Party has picked up three Republican seats in special elections in one cycle. Republicans and their outside groups pulled out all the stops in an attempt to nationalize a congressional race and distract voters away from their own candidates’ failure to stand up for middle class families. The NRCC broke the bank and spent nearly 20 percent of their cash on hand on a ruby red district. Travis’s victory proves that a Democrat who puts the economy, health care, and homegrown values front and center can win anywhere in America. After three consecutive Special Election defeats in districts President Bush twice won easily, it is abundantly clear the American people have turned their back and shut the door on the special interest driven agenda of the Republican Party. There is no district that is safe for Republican candidates because President Bush’s failed policies have hurt every community in America.
No word yet from Dick Cheney. But this dire warning from a very downbeat NRCC Chairman Tom Cole:
“We are disappointed in tonight’s election results. Though the NRCC, RNC and Mississippi Republicans made a major effort to retain this seat, we came up short.
“Tonight’s election highlights two significant challenges Republicans must overcome this November. First, Republicans must be prepared to campaign against Democrat challengers who are running as conservatives, even as they try to join a liberal Democrat majority. Though the Democrats’ task will be more difficult in a November election, the fact is they have pulled off two special election victories with this strategy, and it should be a concern to all Republicans.
“Second, the political environment is such that voters remain pessimistic about the direction of the country and the Republican Party in general. Therefore, Republicans must undertake bold efforts to define a forward looking agenda that offers the kind of positive change voters are looking for. This is something we can do in cooperation with our Presidential nominee, but time is short.
“I encourage all Republican candidates, whether incumbents or challengers, to take stock of their campaigns and position themselves for challenging campaigns this fall by building the financial resources and grassroots networks that offer them the opportunity and ability to communicate, energize and turn out voters this election.”