Everyone's talking about the 50th district race out in California. It might sound like a bombastic musical number, but the Busby-Bilbray race was the most watched in this mid-term primary season. Anticipation was high for the mostly unknown Democratic candidate Francine Busby to edge out Republican Brian Bilbray as the first casualty in the Culture of Corruption strategy the DNC's testing for this fall's Big Dance. Well, Franny fell short, but not by much. Does that mean the strategy needs tweaking?
Busby trails former GOP Rep. Brian Bilbray by a 49 to 45 percent margin with about 96 percent of the precincts reporting this morning. Mind you, Republican in the 50th outpaces the Democrats by 3-2. Bilbray won the right to take disgraced greedhead Duke Cunningham's seat by a mere 4%. Imagine if the odds were a little more evenly matched or if the Democratic challenger were a little better known or road tested? Republicans who think they've weathered the storm should remember the Gales of November are five months out yet.
Busby made some missteps, most notably her campaign speech blunder to a mostly immigrant crowd in which she told them voting papers weren't required. To her credit, she immediately clarified that voting papers aren't required to help a candidate campaign, but are certainly required to vote, but the damage was done. In a world of soundbites, anything can be taken out of context and slammed against your head until you're stumbling like a fool. Just ask John Kerry.
So, Bilbray will warm Cunningham's seat until November when he has to fight for it all over again. Democrats can take comfort in the fact that he got there by a slim margin and that the RNC dropped $4.5 million in the process. That's a lot of dough in a district that was just six months ago the Republican Berchtesgaden. They better hope the Third Infantry isn't on the way.