The Happy Leftie

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

First Chickenhawks, now Barstool Patriots

Democrats are winning, often overwhelmingly, in districts and states that have backed Republicans in recent elections.



A drumbeat of corruption, deficits and war dead has begun to haunt Republican candidates as they hit the campaign trail. The macabre cadence is playing more widely than just federal races: Since November, it has become the background music in a series of state special elections.

Democrats are winning, often overwhelmingly, in districts and states that have backed Republicans in recent elections. The results show that state-level progressive candidates are better poised than at any time in the past 14 years to benefit from a defection of moderate conservatives and a slight left turn in the electorate.

In central Texas, nurse and former school board member Donna Howard beat Ben Bentzin in a Feb. 14 special state House race in suburban Travis County, outside Austin. Howard’s win signaled that Democrats can stand tough even in Republican-tilted districts imposed by “the DeLay-mander,” a revamping of federal districts now under scrutiny by the Supreme Court.

“People were receptive to the idea that someone was willing to talk about going into the legislature and actually making hard decisions, rather than following in lockstep with the failed leadership,” Howard told the Austin American-Statesman. Like other Democratic triumphs of late, her 58 to 42 percent victory came in a district that broke for the GOP in ‘04.

The same day in Kentucky, in a race that drew media attention and doorknockers from three states, Perry Clark, a veteran and Boy Scout volunteer, took the 37th state Senate seat. He won 54 to 46 percent in a district that snakes inland from the Ohio River on the southwest side of Louisville. It too was carried by the GOP in 2004.

Labor households were galvanized by recent Republican efforts to undermine Kentucky unions through a “right-to-work” law. In addition, Republican Gov. Ernie Fletch