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Busby Loses, But So Does the RNC

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.


Yeah, I don't know. If the Dems can't win after a fiasco like Duke Cunningham, then I'm not sure how much faith I have in the "Culture of Corruption strategy." Do voters care? Do they care enough? We'll see in November.

Sure, the GOP didn't win by much. But they don't need to. They only need to win by a little. (Or lose by a little and then cheat.)

Busby only lost by 4% and Cunningham didn't even get half the votes. He only managed to get 49%. This is a district that's considered a sure bet, a cakewalk for the GOP establishment. He had to spend $11 million to do it. It was a huge expense and effort by the GOP just to save that seat.

In other parts of the country they have otherwise safe seats in trouble too. Burns is on the hot seat in Montana, so much so that 30% of republicans voted in the Democratic primary! A farmer beat out the establishment Dem in the primary to set up a showdown between a rural everyman versus an Abramhoff DC insider.

And on the east coast.....Right Winger Joe Lieberman has lost 11 polling points in the past month to Ned LaMont in the democratic primary. He still leads, but he's burning through money to hold onto his seat.

The chickens have come home to roost for some of these bastards. Whether the cold wind holds through November is anybody's guess. But I wouldn't bet against it.

Of course, Cunningham's in prison. Busby lost out to Republican Bilbray in this race. She may challenge him again this fall for when he'll have to defend this seat again.

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