Republicans Target Mississippi Blue Dog Travis Childers
Is Childers really just a lap dog for Nancy Pelosi?
1:24 PM, Jul 27, 2010 • By MICHAEL WARREN
How does a Republican unseat a conservative Democrat who voted against Obamacare and cap-and-trade? Mississippi state senator Alan Nunnelee, who spoke with me last week in Washington, thinks he has the answer.
“If you had the opportunity to cast your vote for speaker, would you vote for Nancy Pelosi?” Nunnelee says, referencing a question he frequently asks voters in Mississippi’s First Congressional District. (A usually mild-mannered rotary club in the district once responded to that question with boos.) Nunnelee says he follows up by asking if anyone’s family members or neighbors would vote for Pelosi. Only one man has once raised his hand to say “yes.”
“‘But my neighbor is the congressman,’” Nunnelee recalls the man saying. That congressman is Democrat Travis Childers, who won a special election in May 2008 after Governor Haley Barbour nominated Republican representative Roger Wicker to Mississippi’s vacant Senate seat. Months later, Childers kept his seat in the general election, despite the fact that the district gave John McCain 62 percent of its vote.
Nunnelee, a native of Elvis’s hometown of Tupelo, now leads his opponent by eight percentage points, according to an internal poll of likely voters conducted by the Tarrance Group. More critically for the challenger, Nunnelee’s lead increases to 21 points among voters who are familiar with both candidates. Nunnelee says the GOP primary, after which both opponents lined up behind him, helped raise his profile in the district.
Despite the “no” votes on Obamacare and cap-and trade, Childers’s record on spending isn’t friendly to Tea Party concerns. He voted for the stimulus bill, which Nunnelee says has not helped stimulate the economy in northern Mississippi. According to Recovery.gov, over $566 million has been awarded in the first district, with a total of 393 jobs created. That’s over $1.4 million per job. Nunnelee says most of that money has gone to the state and local governments, but the jobs in the private sector aren’t picking up.
Michael Warren is a Collegiate Network fellow and editorial assistant at The Weekly Standard.
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