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More analysis of the CA 50 race
Posted by: mcq on Thursday, June 08, 2006

It seems Republicans may be overly pleased with the narrow victory (4%) they pulled off in a the heavily Repubican CA 50th Congressional district against a Democrat candidate who managed to screw up her chances with a dumb statement near the end.

Some other things that worked for the Republicans in that district. They spent twice as much money than did the Democrats (I've heard 4+ million to Busby's 2 million). They used RNC assets to organize a turn out the vote effort. And possibly most important, there was a tax initiative on the ballot. One has to wonder how many Republicans it got to the polls who were otherwise less than enchanted with the congressional race:
In other California election news, the "Meatheaded" Proposition 82 was trounced. This would have assesed a tax on the "rich" to pay for four-year olds to go to pre-school provides an excellent lesson in the quality of survey research. Early polls showed the ballot measure, which was concocted by frequent political meddler and sometime actor Rob Reiner, a surefire hit, which helped it to raise money and sponsors. Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the real polls. Voters across the Blue State of California looked past the gooey phraseology "for the children" and affirmed that bedrock ideology, no new taxes.
Republicans who sit back and heave a sigh of relief need to take an honest look at the 50th and attempt to assess whether Bibray won his narrow victory because of his message, the effort and money or the ability of prop 82 to turn out enough Republicans determined to ensure "no new taxes" as well as the extra 4% he got to win.

The Dems hope there'll be a lot of happy sighs instead of analysis:
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) said Bilbray's narrow victory in a safe district proved that Democratic hopes for substantial gains remain very much alive. "The message of change is still filled with a lot of jet fuel," he said. "My only hope and prayer is that Republicans take solace in this election so they continue to sleepwalk through it."
Yeah, I know, loser's rhetoric, blah, blah, blah. But frankly, I still think Emanuel is right.

UPDATE: Tom DeLay isn't particularly impressed with the Republicans right now himself:
The former No. 2 House leader criticized his Republican colleagues for "panic, depression and woe-is-me-ism," and predicted they will lose control in November "if they continue the attitude they have right now."
UPDATE II: Another salient point:
"The fact that Busby got 15 points over Democratic registration, that should make Republicans nervous," said David McCuan, a professor of political science at Sonoma State University. "It's not that Bilbray won. This is a safe Republican seat. I was very surprised that $5 million doesn't allow you to break 50 percent."
If what I've emphasized isn't worrisome, to Republicans nationally, it ought to be.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Forget party registrations. They don’t mean much. It’s more important to look at actual voting patterns for the district. And, actually, Francine Busby got about the same percentage of the vote as did Kerry in ’04, and Gore in 2000. So you can’t discount the fact that, while Bilbray didn’t do as well as Republicans usually do in my district (I live in the 50th as well), Francine Busby wasn’t able to draw any greater percentage of Democratic voters.

So, this supports my argument that the turnout for Democrats is probably already maximized. It’s Republican turnout that will be the key.
Written By: Dale Franks
"The fact that Busby got 15 points over Democratic registration, that should make Republicans nervous"

But then why shouldn’t the fact that Kerry got 13 points over Democratic registration have been a symbol of doom in 2004 — which it obviously wasn’t. A district that went for Bush by 5 points over his national average is a Republican district to be sure, but it isn’t so solidly Republican that it is outside the realm of possibility for a Democrat to win in it.

You know that I don’t believe that special elections are particular harbingers of anything, but at worst there is plenty for both side to crow about here.
Written By: Sean
If what I’ve emphasized isn’t worrisome, to Republicans nationally, it ought to be.
Honestly? I don’t think it is. Based upon the form letters that I get from my non-RINO congressman and senators in response to my pleadings for border security first, they give me the impression that they prefer to continue equivocating.
Written By: coffee
URL: http://
I suggest everyone interested in this race and the possible national implications should read Jay Cost’s article at
Written By: Nuclear
URL: http://
The LLL m0oNb@+5 can spin this five ways from Sunday, but at the end of the day the vote was split 60/40 Republican/Democrat (same as the voter demographics). Unless Bilbray gets caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy he will sail into re-election in November.
Written By: Cyber Sarge
URL: http://

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