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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Brian Bilbray Defeats Francine Busby San Diego Special Election

Chuck Muth's DC Confidential gives astute analysis:


Republicans yesterday held on to the California congressional seat formerly held by disgraced Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham. The vote was close. The Republican, former congressman Brian Bilbray, pulled in 49.5 percent of the vote while the Democrat, Francine Busby, netted 45.3 percent of the vote. So Bilbray will finish out Duke's term through January...and the pair will square off again in November for a full term.

Republicans are cheering - gleeful that the victory prevents Democrats from claiming any momentum for massive changes in November which could turn control of the House back over to the Democrats. But I wouldn't be popping champagne corks were I them.

First, Cunningham's 50th congressional district is a GOP stronghold. Cunningham beat Busby for this seat in 2004 with 58 percent of the vote vs. 37 percent for Busby. That this vote in this district was so close should scare the socks off the GOP pooh-bahs in Washington...especially after dumping some $5 million into the race.

Secondly, Busby shot herself in the foot just days before the election by getting herself caught on tape encouraging illegal aliens to get involved in the race, telling them "you don't need papers to vote." Such a declaration in this San Diego-area district just north of the Mexican border surely cost her considerable support, and maybe even the election itself. It could reasonably be argued here that Bilbray didn't so much win as Busby lost.

Democrats should be heartened by this race and Republicans should be scared. Competitive seats in other districts which aren't so GOP-friendly, which won't get $5 million from DC-Republicans, and which don't have Democrat opponents who encourage illegal aliens to vote are apparently absolutely up for grabs in November.

I'd agree.