With no Senate or Governor races this year, all eyes are on Mississippi’s four Congressional district races. This much is sure at this point- at least one Democrat (Bernie Thompson in the 2nd) and one Republican (Greg Harper in the 3rd) will be returned to Congress.
In the 1st District, Democrat Travis Childers faces a serious challenge from Alan Nunnellee who leads by an average of about three points in recent polls. This is within the margin of error and leaves the district as a very close race. While voting for the Obama stimulus, Childers has voted against Obamacare and cap-and-trade legislation. Problematic for Childers is his stance not to repeal Obamacare- sort of like a de facto, “I voted against it before I decided to support it.” This is a Republican district which Childers captured after Wicker became Senator. And it is a conservative district. So it is no surprise that Childers- a Blue Dog Democrat- is pro-life and pro-gun. Plus his vote for the stimulus in a state with a high unemployment rate hurts his fiscal conservative credentials leaving the district up for the taking. The 1st District encompasses the northern part of the state and looking at a map, it is probably the southern boundary of where Republicans will make their gains this cycle- a territory that extends northward into Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. It may be the bellweather district to watch Election night as it may foretell just how bad Democratic losses will be this year. If Childers falls, it spells the definite anticipated bad news for the Democratic Party, especially in the killing fields of America’s heartland.
In the 4th district, incumbent Democrat Gene Taylor faces a tough battle for re-election also. Encompassing most of the Gulf Coast, it is considered a highly Republican district. In fact, it is the highest rated Republican district currently held by a Democrat in the country. That could work both ways. The district has not voted for a Democratic Presidential nominee since 1956 and has a Cook PVI rating pf +20 Republican. Hence, Taylor has to lean to the right although his voting record is with the Pelosi camp 78% of the time. Although he faced tough election fights early in his tenure, that has not been the case since 1998. Most rate this district in the toss-up category mainly because of the nature of the district and the anti-incumbent sentiment out there. And according to most reports, Taylor is in some trouble this year. This will also be an interesting race to watch on November 2nd and could foretell how bad things really go for the Democratic Party this year.