Thursday, July 07, 2005

Snowing in Hell

San Diego County Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring doesn't think any Democrat can take over Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham's 50th Congressional District seat. He told the San Diego Union Tribune recently,

"The likelihood of the Democrats taking over that district are lower than that of hell freezing over."

Well Mr. Nehring it is starting to snow in hell.

In today's North County Times, a spokesperson for Congressman Cunningham's only announced Democratic challenger, Francine Busby, reported that since the story of Cunningham's financial irregularities (some call them bribes, or graft, or abuses of power, or corruption.....what's in a name?) financial contributions to the Busby campaign have skyrocketed.

On Wednesday, Cardiff School District Trustee Francine Busby, who launched her campaign against Cunningham earlier this year, reported that her campaign donations have spiked significantly since the news reports surfaced in early June, and a campaign spokesman said that he attributes much of the jump to the Cunningham story...

At the start of the second quarter, between April 1 and June 11, $38,000 in donations entered Busby's campaign coffers, the spokesman said...

Then on June 12, the story broke of Cunningham's sale of his Del Mar Heights home to the president of a Washington defense contractor at a price that apparently was hundreds of thousands of dollars higher than market rate…

Suddenly, donations to Busby's campaign took off…

Between June 12 and June 30, the last day of the quarter, Busby, who ran unsuccessfully against Cunningham in 2004, received an additional $64,000 in contributions.

Ms. Busby's ran against Cunningham last year and lost, in part, due to the ability of incumbent Cunningham to pull in four times more financial support than Busby. That may not happen this time. Not only have the serial revelations of "poor judgment" hurt Cunningham's reputation, they may also damage his ability to raise campaign funds.

"He's an important figure in Congress, but this is the kind of thing that will make people take a harder look," said Gary Jacobson, a congressional expert at the University of California San Diego. "If he can't resolve this in a way that passes the smell test, then I think it will hurt his position as a leader and as a fundraiser."

Finally, although Cunningham has a campaign war chest of over $600,000 available to him, he may find it necessary to spend some or all of that money in legal expenses for his stable of high priced Washington lawyers.

Mr. Nehring, the Wal-Mart in hell reports a run on winter clothing.