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Thursday, June 01, 2006

CA-50: Wah Wah Wah... Wipeout!

Posted by James L.

San Diego professor of Political Science Carl Luna, writing for the S.D. Union-Tribune, has a great breakdown on why surfer-turned-lobbyist-turned-Congressional candidate Brian Bilbray is facing a gnarly nightmare at the polls next Tuesday. Read it; it's a fun article, but for those without the time, here's the SparkNotes version of Bilbray's bind:

1) He was bruised by a divisive, expensive, and crowded primary.
2) His career as a lobbyist has only left him all the more vulnerable to anti-corruption broadsides.
3) Busby's lack of meaningful primary opposition has allowed her to pursue a message of competence, moderation and good governance over anything particularly ideological, while Bilbray has been caught-up in the Republican primary crowd's rush to out-right each other.
4) He has the charisma of "Nixon in a speedo".
5) His defeated conservative primary opponents have not rallied around him, and instead are STILL challenging Bilbray on the June 6 primary ballot--hurting Bilbray's appeal among conservatives.
6) His hard-right tack on immigration may end up pleasing no one--it will turn off moderates while leaving conservatives unconvinced.
7) He's tainted by horrid approval numbers for the President and the Republican Congress.
8) The NRCC's campaign ads which allege that Busby is "soft on pedophiles" have the potential for significant backlash votes.
9) In the last week of the campaign, Dick Cheney--not exactly the popular, cuddly face of the Republican Party--enthusiastically (I use the term loosely) stumped for Bilbray while John McCain, still the hero to moderate and independent Republicans, sapped Bilbray's momentum by boycotting a scheduled fundraiser after he started to slap around Busby for supporting McCain's immigration plan. This isn't the way you make friends and influence people, bro.

But for all his woes, Luna's convinced that the McCain snub will really be Bilbray's undoing:

Bottom line. Bilbray’s being jilted at the fund raising alter by that darling of the middle (or, is it the darling of the muddled?) John “Man For All Seasons, Audiences, People and Voters” McCain may well prove to have been the final pounder of Bilbray’s political surfing hopes. McCain’s boycott is a blazing sign to moderates and independents that Bilbray just ain’t their dude.

Up through last week my bet was Bilbray by 2%. Given the way things are breaking, I now have to go Busby by a nose. Or, in surferese, by a toe on the nose.

It'll be a tight one, but it looks increasingly possible that Francine Busby can pull this one off.
(Thanks to Predictor for the tip.)

PS: Busby really seems to be hitching her wagon to Sen. McCain in order to innoculate herself against Bilbray's attacks, as seen in her ad entitled "It's Not Amnesty". A brilliant strategy in a ruby red district or unnerving McCain-boosting? Both, maybe.

UPDATE: Dailykos diarist dengre has an excellent diary up detailing the links between Brian Bilbray and Jack Abramoff.

Posted at 12:05 AM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Technorati

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Busby has traveled a long road, and seems to be right on the verge. Its a conservative district, and if she wants to hitch her wagon to McCain to pull her the last bit, I don't begrudge her that.

I know that people are worried about McCain 2008, but I think that 2008 can wait until after November. Until then, its whatever helps make Democrats the majority.

Posted by: bosdcla14 [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 1, 2006 02:28 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I agree. This year, we've got to do whatever it takes to win. After the midterm is when we should turn our attention to the McCain problem.

Posted by: The Caped Composer [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 1, 2006 10:08 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm feeling better and better about this race everyday. 6 days to go let's win this thing!

Posted by: D in FL. [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 1, 2006 11:17 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment