Wednesday, September 20, 2006

CA-50 Slipping Away

It certainly looks like lobbyist and Virginia resident Brian Bilbray has a lock on re-election the 50th District. Democratic challenger, Francine Busby has slipped to nearly the same position that she was in two years ago when convicted Republican felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham defeated her 58% to 36%.

According the a SurveyUSA poll taken last week, Bilbray is the choice of 54% of likely voters in November's election, while Busby has the support of 40%.
Republican Bilbray Increases Lead in Duke Cunningham's District: In an election for the U.S. House of Representatives today, 9/13/06, in California's 50th Congressional District, incumbent Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray defeats Democrat Francine Busby 54% to 40%, effectively taking this seat out of play for the Democrats, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for KGTV-TV San Diego. Bilbray, who beat Busby by 4 points in a special election 6/6/06 to win the seat, now with the advantages of incumbency leads by 14 points. In an identical SurveyUSA KGTV-TV poll 2 months ago, Bilbray led by 11 points. The election is in 8 weeks, on 11/7/06. Much of the movement from SurveyUSA's July poll to today comes from Moderates. Busby had led by 14 among CA50 Moderates, now trails by 3, a 17-point swing. Moderates make-up 42% of likely voters in SurveyUSA's turnout model. Bilbray leads among male voters by 34 points. Busby leads among female voters by 4 points, a 38-point "gender gap." Bilbray wins 15:1 among Republicans. Busby wins 7:1 among Democrats. Independents are tied. Among those who approve of President Bush's job performance, Bilbray leads 30:1. Those who disapprove of Bush's performance vote for by Busby 5:1.
With moderates deserting Busby, the overwhelming Republican registration in the district may be more that her cash and volunteer strapped campaign can overcome.

Despite Bilbray's support of the Bush folly in Iraq, he is too new in the job for much of the voter antipathy that is impacting other Republican incumbents to be aimed in his direction. He owns the illegal immigration issue and there is no way Busby can get to the right of him on that unless she starts running with the Minutemen down at the border.

The real tragedy here is that Democrats had two golden opportunities to elect Busby to this office. With big money support, professional staff and national attention on a special election and a run-off, Busby got fewer votes in either election than she did in the 2004 general election when she ran against Cunningham the first time. Granted that was a presidential election, but in 2004, Busby got 105,509 votes. In the special election she pulled down just 60,010 and in the run-off, 71,146. In either election somewhere between 7,200 and 8,700 more votes would have put Busby into congress.

In the end, apathetic voters in the 50th district gave Brian Bilbray the job and now they are going to let him keep it. I guess the folks in the 50th are getting what they deserve.