Monday, May 5, 2008

Democrat Wins LA's Special Election

Democrat Don Cazayoux beat former state legislator, Republican Woody Jenkins in this weekend’s LA-06 special election. The seat has been held by a Republican since the 1970’s. This is the second special election that the GOP has lost, despite the fact that it should have been easy for them to keep. Earlier this year the former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert’s seat turned blue in a district that has been red for decades.
What do these loses signal for the chances of the GOP in November? In both races the GOP candidates were flawed, both had mounted several unsuccessful campaigns in the past and had a reputation for losing. Jenkins was not a good fit for the district. He has a record of being too far to the right and unabashed pro-lifer who resorts to tactics like displaying plastic fetuses to make his point. He relayed too heavily on divisive issues and hoped to turn out the social conservatives while the Democratic candidate, who is also pro-life, focused on health care and the economy, two issues that better connected with the voters.
Although these loses can be contributed to weak candidates the GOP will have a tough time in November if they continue to push such divisive issues and ignore the ones people are actually concerned about. Let’s hope that these special elections serve as a wake-up call to the Party and candidates. The past tactics of running on social issues in hopes to turn out the far right base will not win elections any longer. If GOP candidates do not propose commons sense solutions to the real problems that voters care about we will see many more losses in November.

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