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Mississippi Democrat gains a seat in House

The post, in GOP hands for 14 years, is the party's third big loss this year.

May 14, 2008|From the Associated Press

JACKSON, MISS. — Mississippi Democrat Travis W. Childers won a special election to Congress on Tuesday, helping his party to a third victory this year for seats that had long been in Republican hands.

The victory puts Childers into the House seat vacated by Roger Wicker, a Republican appointed to the U.S. Senate when Trent Lott resigned. The win also gives the Democrats a 236-199 majority in the House -- if only for a few months, until November's general elections.

With 99% of the precincts reporting, Childers had 54% to Republican Greg Davis' 46%.

Earlier this year, Democrats captured the Illinois district long represented by former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, who resigned. And earlier this month, Democrats claimed a Louisiana seat that Republican Rep. Richard H. Baker had relinquished.

In Mississippi, the Republican Party sought to link Childers to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The party had tried a similar strategy against the Democrat in Louisiana.

At a rally Monday for Davis in Southaven, Miss., Vice President Dick Cheney also tried to nationalize the race.

"These are decisive times for America," Cheney said. "And whether the issue is the economy, or energy, or national security, the right answers are coming from Republicans -- not from Nancy Pelosi, or [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid, or the rest of the Democratic leadership in Washington."

Both parties invested more money in this race than in any other special election this year. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $1.8 million, and the National Republican Congressional Committee spent $1.3 million.

The Mississippi seat had been in GOP hands since 1994.

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