Monday, June 05, 2006

Only The Beginning..

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Democrats are poised to pick up the seat that was held by disgraced Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham:

In the first major congressional race of what could be a politically volatile year, the contest to fill the seat of a jailed Republican is testing whether Democrats can capitalize on Republican unrest in the battle for the House.

Fractures among conservatives in the affluent coastal communities extending north of San Diego -- coupled with dissatisfaction with President Bush -- have put Democrats within striking distance of capturing a safe Republican seat that was thrown open when Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigned after pleading guilty to corruption charges.

Though Bush carried the 50th District by 10 points in 2004 and Republicans have a 44 percent to 29 percent edge in voter registration, polls show Brian Bilbray, a Republican, and Francine Busby, a Democrat, essentially tied going into Tuesday's special election.

"It is going to be close," Bilbray, a former congressman, acknowledged. The campaign will have cost an almost-unheard-of $10 million when spending by the candidates, the national parties and others is totaled.

The election is serving as a laboratory to assess the potency of political appeals that are likely to resonate through November. Bilbray, noting that the Mexican border is just miles away, 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.

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 that Republican voters felt over Cunningham's deeds will help her.

Many analysts describe Busby as a solid but hardly overwhelming candidate who, in an ordinary year, would have no chance of winning such a Republican-tilted district. But this year, Democrats are energized while some Republicans -- turned off by Republican spending and uncertain about the course of the nation under Bush -- are not rallying to their party's candidates.

"I think the whole atmosphere emanating from national politics is really what is keeping her afloat," said Gary Jacobson, a political scientist at UC San Diego. "Democrats are really unhappy and really motivated to get out and vote, and Republicans are not."

Democrats and others say that if a Democratic candidate can pose a legitimate threat in a district like this one, challengers will have even better opportunities in races where the party's edge is much narrower.

Busby is not Bilbray's only obstacle in the race, which has featured a barrage of negative television commercials by both parties. He is also under fire from a fellow Republican, Bill Hauf, a wealthy real estate investor who is challenging Bilbray in a separate but simultaneous primary race for a spot on the November ballot to fill the 50th District seat for a full term. Hauf has poured some of his money into mailings to Republicans questioning Bilbray's conservative commitment, an effort that has infuriated local Republican leaders who say the feud could sap critical support from Bilbray.

"I have come to be the fly in the ointment," said Hauf, who said he and like-minded Republicans in the district see Bilbray as too moderate and tied to the Republican establishment to help turn around a party they view as addicted to higher spending and soft on social issues.

This defeat for the Republicans will mark the beginning of the end for the Republicans' control of Congress.

The American people are tired of the Republicans and their corruption and they are going to let them know this year.

John Boehner and the Republicans have refused to pass ethics reform in Washington D.C.

However, the American people have taken the job into their own hands and are getting reform the old fashioned way--elected good Democrats to replace corrupt Republicans.