Hard as it was to pass up the sure-to-be-strange Hillary victory celebration tonight in scenic Charleston, WV, the more interesting race today is down in Mississippi, where Democrat Travis Childers might just pick up one of the reddest red congressional seats in the Deep South. As always, the race has its own quirks that resist its transformation into some grand narrative template -- the Republican candidate has to be one of the least good-looking political hopefuls out there, for one thing. Still, it remains stunning that it's even neck-and-neck, and the outcome will help clarify two things:
1. How completely, utterly, entirely, totally, dead-out screwed House Republicans are for November. If the NRCC dumps $1.3+ million, a good fifth of its total money, into a Deep South safe seat and sends Dick Cheney down to campaign and has both W. and Laura Bush record a get-out-the-vote robocall and loses the seat anyway, the debris cloud from John Boehner's head exploding will be visible from space; and
2. How an association with Obama will play for conservative Democrats in white districts. Childers's opponents have been hyping his Obama ties hard:
Mr. Childers’s campaign said his negative rating among voters has risen acutely, internal polls show a sharp narrowing in the contest, and interviews with voters indicated the supposed Childers-Obama link could influence votes.
“It probably would,” said Bill Chism, a refrigeration mechanic. Asked to elaborate, he ducked his head and said, “I’d rather not say,” nodding to a black customer approaching his wife’s flea market stall in Tupelo on Sunday.