View Full Version : Republican leads in bellwether House race

06-07-2006, 03:44 AM
By ROBERT TANNER, AP National Writer 1 hour, 15 minutes ago

In the most closely watched contest in eight states Tuesday, a former Republican congressman took the early lead in a bellwether House race in California where the parties hammered campaign themes of corruption and immigration that could play out in the fall midterm elections.

With 46 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Brian Bilbray was ahead with 35,505 votes, or 50 percent, to Democrat Francine Busby's 31,955 votes, or 45 percent, in the special election to replace Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who was convicted of corruption charges...

...Still, the biggest race was the one to replace Cunningham, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for taking bribes on a scale unparalleled in the history of Congress. Democrats saw a rich opportunity to capture a solidly Republican district and build momentum on their hopes to capture control of the House.
National Democrats spent nearly $2 million on the race; the GOP spent $4.5 million. President Bush (http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=President+Bush) and first lady Laura Bush (http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=Laura+Bush) recorded telephone messages for Bilbray, while the Democrats' last two presidential candidates John Kerry (http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=John+Kerry) and Al Gore (http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=Al+Gore) urged supporters to back Busby.

Bilbray, made immigration the centerpiece of his campaign, proposing a fence "from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico" and restrictions to keep illegal immigrants from collecting Social Security (http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=Social+Security) and other benefits.

Busby, a local school board member, focused her campaign on public dissatisfaction with the Bush administration and the GOP-led Congress, and assailed Bilbray for working as a lobbyist in Washington. She consistently referred to him as "the lobbyist Bilbray."

With votes still being counted in California, officials said winners may not be determined in the House race or the governor's race until later Wednesday.

Had to delete a lot to make the text short enough to fit in this post. Here's the link...


Interesting to note that Bilbray(R) concentrated on immigration as an issue, and Busby(D) concentrated on public dissatisfaction with the Bush Administration. Could be an important lesson in future elections.

Milo Christensen
06-07-2006, 05:42 AM
It's ironic that when the forum's liberals are faced with harsh reality that they retreat to some other thread to crow on and on about some meaningless investigation, alleged abuse of power, constitutional crisis, and all that liberal yadayadayada.

It'll be interesting to see if they attempt to spin this victory or just do what they do so well, ignore their defeat and move on to some other bogus issue that they'll use to self inflame each other in some liberal circle jerk.

Don't the kool-aid taste extra specially good today?

Joe (SoCal)
06-07-2006, 05:50 AM
I'm in shock and awe a California voted for a Republican congressman. :eek: :eek:

What will they think of next? Could this one congressional seat mean the end of the democratic party as we know it. Oooooh the humanity. :D

Whatever :rolleyes: get over it, lets see how it pans out in 2008. ;)

Oooh hold the presses what is this :

June 7, 2006. 0 comments. Topic: Politics
Angelides Wins Democratic Nomination for Governor, Other Statewide Nominations Decided Except Republican Nomination for State Controller

Looks Like a Good Democratic Year in California Going into November.
Three Previously Thought Safe Republican Congressional Seats Are in Play.


06-07-2006, 07:01 AM
oh darn,,well I guess the voters needs something to vote for and not against. As though Kerry/Bush wasn't a clue. One thing to notice is that the Busby/Bilbray district is 3:2 Repub/Dem.
This is similar to the Hackett (Iraq vet)/Schmidt(Marines don't run) race in Ohio where Schmidt beat Hackett in a race over a crooked Repub(I think) who vacated his seat.

The have the chance to do this again in Nov. as Cunninghams term ends in Nov. But Bilbray will be an incumbent then.

If he ran on immigration issues then maybe he can solve the immigration problem,,AND get the pool cleaned.

Keith Wilson
06-07-2006, 08:54 AM
Not too surprising; that district in San Diego has been pretty conservative for a long time. California is not just San Francisco; there are lot of very solidly "red" sections. If the Democrat had won, I'd say there would be very little hope for the Republicans in the fall. The fact that another Republican won in what would otherwise have been a solidly Republican district doesn't mean all that much.

06-07-2006, 09:12 AM
It would have been nice if we won, but it was a long-shot.

It's a very Republican district and they spent three times as much on the campaign as the Democrats.

06-07-2006, 09:55 AM
50%-45% in that district is tantamount to a loss for republicans. I believe that the % of Republicans to Democrats is something like 85 to 15 there.

Kim Whitmyre
06-07-2006, 10:48 AM
All but a few districts in California, and elsewhere for that matter, are gerrymandered with the collusion of "both" parties to assure no actual competition. As has been said, "If voting was effective, it would be illegal."

Milo Christensen
06-07-2006, 11:18 AM
The 50th CA Congressional District was created in 2003. In '04, President Bush won the CA 50th Congressional District with 55% of the vote so this is hardly a "safe" district for Republicans. Cunningham got 58% of the vote.

Busby had 44% of the vote in the first special election, Bilbray only 15%, the other sixteen candidates running far down the list. This was a runoff election. Pretty decent showing for Bilbray to come that far, that fast and for Busby not to move up much at all.

The MSM had touted this particular race as a 'bellwether', a first look at whether the "base" was dissatisfied enough to switch parties, but the Republicans were able to weather the storm. So, the Democrat lost and the MSM is either furiously spinning the "heavily Republican district" angle (which is B.S.) or studiously ignoring the victory.

Art Read
06-07-2006, 11:30 AM
The article I remember reading the day before yesterday made much of the fact that both sides admitted the race as "too close to call" and that it represented the first, best "test" of the democrats push to gain some sort of majority in November. Strangely, I can find no record of it online any longer....

Art Read
06-07-2006, 11:36 AM
Ahh... Here it is:

House race draws attention
By Chris Cillizza

The Washington Post



Francine Busby, the Democratic candidate for the 50th Congressional District seat made vacant by the resignation of Republican Randy "Duke" Cunningham, makes a point during a debate as Republican opponent Brian Bilbray listens. Their race is a dead heat.

WASHINGTON The special election to replace imprisoned former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., is a virtual dead heat a few days before voters head to the polls, prompting alarm among Republicans, who worry a loss in a historically conservative district could presage a national trend against them in the fall.

The contest Tuesday between Democrat Francine Busby and Republican Brian Bilbray, a former congressman, in the affluent coastal communities extending north of San Diego in the 50th District is so tight in public and private polling that campaign operatives from both parties are saying it is too close to call.

National Republicans, alarmed by the prospect of a loss in such a closely watched race, have pumped millions of dollars into the contest, far outspending the Democrats.

Ellen Malcolm, president of EMILY's List, a group that financially backs female candidates who support abortion rights including Busby was one of the few willing to predict the outcome. "This is a rock-solid Republican seat which I think they are going to lose," she said.

Malcolm and other national Democrats said the race is so tight because of a national political atmosphere that has turned toxic for Republicans and could result in the Democratic Party returning to majority status come November.

Republicans said the California race is close because of a confluence of factors unique to the district, including Cunningham's forced resignation, the scheduling of the race to coincide with a competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary and Bilbray's background as a former member of Congress and lobbyist.

Republican leaders said no broad conclusions about the state of the electorate can be drawn from the results of this race.

"Every week, Democrats throw something against the wall and hope it sticks," said Rep. Thomas Reynolds, R-N.Y., chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

Privately, however, some Republicans said a loss Tuesday would be a stunning symbolic blow to their party.

Faced with that unappealing prospect, the NRCC has spent more than $4 million to hold the seat, a massive sum, given the district demographics.

Incumbents challenged

The surprising competitiveness of the 50th District comes amid signs that a handful of previously safe incumbents such as Reps. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., and Nancy Johnson, R-Conn. will face serious challenges in the fall.

Even after Cunningham's admission that he accepted millions in bribes from a defense contractor and his subsequent resignation from Congress, the race to replace him was not initially seen as an opportunity for Democrats.

President Bush carried the district with 55 percent of the vote in 2004, and as of mid-May Republicans accounted for 44 percent of registered voters in the district compared with slightly less than 30 percent for the Democrats.

The results of the April 11 open primary did little to alter that sentiment. Busby took 44 percent the same percentage Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., won in the 2004 presidential race while 16 Republicans split the remainder. Bilbray, who represented the San Diego area's 49th District during the 1990s, emerged as the GOP nominee and won the right to challenge Busby in Tuesday's runoff.

In the weeks after the primary, the Republican base began to splinter. Wealthy real-estate investor Bill Hauf decided to challenge Bilbray for the Republican nomination for a full term (the special election and the regular primary will be on Tuesday's ballot) and began attacking the former congressman as a liberal.

Independent William Griffith, who has the support of the San Diego chapter of an anti-immigration group, The Minuteman Project, also is complicating Bilbray's outreach to conservatives.

For his part, Bilbray is running as a fierce foe of illegal immigration, while he and national Republicans portray Busby as an advocate of higher taxes and government benefits for those who entered the United States illegally. The ballot lists Bilbray's occupation as immigration-reform consultant.

Busby, a local school-board member who lost decisively to Cunningham in 2004, has joined national Democrats in pounding Bilbray for working as a lobbyist after serving in Congress.

They have sought to tie him to what Democrats decry as the institutional corruption defined by Cunningham's illegal efforts to steer military projects to the firms of lobbyists who rewarded him with payoffs.

"This is ground zero for people who have felt the cost of corruption," said Busby, who said betrayal Republican voters felt over Cunningham's deeds will help her.

Fissures in GOP base

Bilbray said the key to victory Tuesday is for Republicans "to understand that any vote that is not for [me] is at least a half a vote for Busby."

The fissures within the Republican base have coincided with a sharp decline in the president's job-approval rating and in the number of people who think the country is headed in the right direction.

"If it weren't for the broad discontent with current administration and Republicans in general, [Busby] wouldn't be running nearly as well," said Gary Jacobson, a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego.

Jacobson added that since 1966, there have been 195 congressional elections in California districts where Republicans held a voter-registration advantage. Democrats won four.

Amy Walter, who analyzes House races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, offered a measured approach to finding meaning in Tuesday's election.

"There is going to be a lot written about [California District 50], win, lose or draw," she said. "I just don't think the outcome changes the prevalent political environment, which is bad for Republicans."

Material from The New York Times

is included in this report.

Copyright 2006 The Seattle Times Company"

Art Read
06-07-2006, 11:47 AM
I didn't say it, Norm... "They" did!:)

Osborne Russell
06-07-2006, 12:02 PM
This is the district where Dusty Foggo and his CIA pals live, and where their "defense industries" are located, e.g. MZM Inc. Many indicted and un-indicted co-conspirators of Duke-stir (sic) Cunningham.

The people that are stealing the country blind, to the cheers of the rabble.

06-07-2006, 12:13 PM

I used the exact title from the article for the subject line.

I think LeeG gets the extra credit points for noticing my point.