Mississippi’s first congressional district has 14% more Republican voters than Democratic voters. Why, then, has incumbent Democratic Rep. Travis Childers enjoyed such popularity there?
Some say it’s because of Childers country-boy charm. He grew up in the district, supported his father-less family as a teenager, put himself through college and went on to open a successful real estate business. Childers was first elected to public office in 1991, and succeeded 6-term Republican Rep. Roger Wicker (now a Senator) in 2008.
Wicker had enjoyed wide margins of victory, so the success of a Democrat was a huge let down for the GOP; however, 2008 was the year of the Obama voting wave, and electing a hometown Democrat steal the seat wasn’t totally unexpected.
This year, GOP challenger Alan Nunnelee wants to set things right again.
“I think that my views will be much more aligned with the views in the district, starting with the very first vote,” said Nunnelee, referring to the first vote that each new class of Congressmen take to elect House leadership. “The first vote starts with the leadership team, and my opponent voted for Pelosi to empower the Democrats.”
Nunnelee says that most of the Democratic agenda has hurt Alabama, and that voters won’t make the same mistake by electing a Democrat again. Nunnelle, also a small business owner in Mississippi, emphasizes that he has utmost respect for Childers. Nunnelee also says he’s quite certain that Childers is as liberal as they come, and that Mississippi’s first district residents simply aren’t in line with his views.
One recent issue that has come up is his level of union support, which could become an issue as the campaign progresses through the summer. In 2008, he received over $250,000 from union groups, and this cycle, a pro-union group called Citizens for Strength and Security has been paying for direct mail for his campaign. Another issue is Childers “yes” vote on the federal bailout packages authorized by President Obama.