Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic
There's trouble in River City. After the third straight loss of what was considered a safe seat — in illinois, Lousianna, Illinois and last night in Mississippi — the Republican Party is extremely worried about the fall campaign. Tuesday night, Democrat Travis Childers defeated Republican Greg Davis by eight points in the latest special election. The seat had long been considered safe GOP .(As far as a comparison of just how big a loss this was, Marc Ambinder of theAtlantic.com compared it to the Republicans winning in Los Angeles County.)
In an e-mail to party members earlier today, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Rep. Tom Cole wrote, "Republicans must undertake bold efforts to define a forward looking agenda that offers the kind of positive change voters are looking for. This is something we can do in cooperation with our Presidential nominee, but time is short."
Our own political junkie, Ken Rudin, look at how special elections in the past have often been harbingers of the results of the general election. Ken writes that "the mind drifts back to 1974 early 1974." In early February, 41-year-old Democratic state legislator John Murtha eked out a 230-vote victory in a special election to replace Republican Rep. John Saylor, who had died the previous October. The Democrats went on to win three more "safe" GOP seats in special elections.
For many of us who followed politics in that fascinating year, those special elections still stand out. Watching one after another longtime GOP seat fall, we knew the Democratic Party was on the precipice of a significant election blowout in the fall. The Democrats picked up an additional 43 seats that November.
In today's segment, Ken will also talk about last night's Democratic primary results in West Virginia, a look forward to the next primaries in Kentucky and Oregon , and the rapid political tumble of Republican Rep. Vito Fossella, who was first arrested on a DUI and then admitted to fathering a child out of wedlock.