Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Cunningham's replacement: In the coming weeks/months we're going to have a special election here in California's 50th Congressional District for someone to replace convicted felon Randy "Brother can you spare a Rolls Royce" Cunningham.
Some of the more ignorant on the left end of the political spectrum believe that this is an excellent chance for Democrats to pick up a seat in the House.
It's not going to happen. Lefty blogger Chris Bowers over at MyDD has compiled some of the Dist. 50 election results over the past 5 years and gets it somewhat right. This is a heavily Republican district -- it was designed that way by the baldly partisan gerrymandering after the 2000 census. Remember, in the 2004 election, not a single seat statewide changed party hands.
Bowers suggests that the district is "heavy in RINO's" [sic] (Republicans-in-name-only) due to Sen. Barbara Boxer's narrow defeat (in the 50th district) to former Secretary of State Bill Jones -- this is wishful thinking. Jones was a terrible candidate, had barely done any advertising and he still won the district.
The only way the Democrats could take this district was if Cunningham had continued to fight the case against him and ran for re-election, even as it became clear to everyone he was guilty as sin. That is the only way that you could get this GOP-gerrymandered district going for a Democrat. Yes, in that situation, even I would vote for the Democrat.
Liberals are hoping that a Republican "culture of corruption" will so disgust the rank and file, that they'll vote Democrat. Unfortunately for them, Cunningham alone can't make that happen.
I refer you back to the 2002 Senate race in New Jersey for a preview of what will be happening here. New Jersey is a very blue state, yet it had a corrupt senator, Bob Torricelli, running for re-election. Everyone knew Torricelli was dirty, yet his Republican opponent, Doug Forrester held only the most narrow of leads. Some Democrats disgusted by Torricelli's corrupt dealings were willing to toss him out and clean house.
When it became clear the tide had turned and that he would be defeated, Torricelli backed out, and through a corrupt bargain with the New Jersey courts, Frank Lautenberg replaced him on the ballot. (For those unfamiliar with the case, Torricelli pulled out past the deadline for changes on the ballot. The courts decided that the legal deadline -- aka the law -- was frivolous and it was more important that voters have a "choice." So, they allowed Lautenberg to replace Torricelli on the ballot.)
Once Torricelli and his accompanying baggage was no longer an issue in the race, all of those Democrats who had been unwilling to put party over principle and decided to support Forrester, could now revert to their natural Democrat-supporting inclination. Torricelli's "culture of corruption" was seen as an individual problem -- rather than a partywide problem. (Although in New Jersey, this was probably a faulty analysis because that state's Democrats are the epitome of a culture of corruption.)
So, are the Democrats going to pick up the 50th District seat in Congress?
Don't hold your breath.