Bad news from CA-50
In the special election yesterday to replace Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Francine Busby received 44% of the vote. Though she was by far the highest vote getter, that merely represents that while there were only 2 Democrats, there were 14 Repulbicans on the ballot. Since she failed to get a majority, she will now have to face Republican Brian Bilbray in a one-on-one runoff in June.
If one wants to look at CA-50 as a bellweather for the pending mid-terms, things don't look that promising. After all, the two Democrats in the race got a total of 45% of the vote, while Kerry garnered 44% in the district against Bush in 2004. So if you're looking for signs of change, don't look to CA-50.
EDIT: Good news (for Democrats) about Bilbray's weakness as a candidate. From TPM Muckracker:
As a congressman, Bilbray traveled to the Marianas Islands on a junket arranged by disgraced GOP superlobbyist Jack Abramoff. The island government, controlled by a handful of wealthy manufacturers, was pressing to keep the U.S. from imposing wage and labor laws on their factories.Just about the worst possible candidate for Republicans to run in Cunningham's district.
Bilbray took up the Marianas' cause with aplomb, although he has denied knowing Abramoff. "I assume I've run into him during the process," he said. "But when I see him on TV, it's not someone I recognize."
Bilbray lost re-election to Congress in 2000; he immediately declared himself a lobbyist. Congress prohibits former members from lobbying their former colleagues for one year, so Bilbray lobbied the State Department and the White House until he was allowed back in the Capitol. (More on that soon.)
Once there, folks have said he had trouble keeping to the rules. "Several sources, including one GOP lawmaker, said [Bilbray] uses his floor privilege to lobby in the House chamber," which is not permitted, the Hill newspaper reported last June. Bilbray denied the charge: "I've never done that. That's not right."
Also as a lobbyist, he once testified before Congress about a water treatment project, but failed to reveal he was paid to lobby for the group whose project was being discussed.