Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Whoops.............CA-50 In Play

Apparently, Brian Bilbray's (CA-50) strategy of hiding out until after the election and then going back to his home in Virginia isn't quite working out as intended. Over the last few weeks, Bilbray has lost what once was a double digit polling lead over Democrat Francine Busby.

A SurveyUSA poll released yesterday shows the election as a statistical dead heat. Busby has made up 11% points on Bilbray since the last SurveyUSA poll on September 13.

Bilbray has lost 5 points and Busby has gained 6 points. Bilbray had led by 14 points, now leads by 3. Bilbray gets 85% of Republican votes. Busby gets 87% of Democrat votes. These numbers are similar to last month's. Most of the shrinkage in Bilbray's advantage is because the Republican edge in the composition of CA50 likely voters has decreased from 14 points to 6 points. See the supplemental analysis box below. Among Independents, Busby has gone from 2 points behind to 9 points ahead.
Bilbray continues to take hits due to an on-going grand jury investigation that, although, still not credible in the main stream media due to its anonymous sources, highlights both Bilbray's lack of veracity and the fact that he has never and still doesn't live in the 50th district.

Bilbray's lack of visibility in the district makes his stance regarding debating Busby even more troubling. He is seen as an outsider, intent on making his home in congress not the North County. North County Times columnist Gale Chatfield, today, asks will Bilbray won't debate the issues in front of 50th district voters. She points out that Bilbray does have time for fund raising at expensive Rancho Santa Fe restaurants. You know Rancho Santa Fe, that's where convicted Republican felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham chose to live once he began pulling in the big bribery money.

Yes, Brian Bilbray did tell this paper that he would try and accommodate challenger Francine Busby as much as possible, sarcastically adding that he would give "face time" to Busby "as long as she agrees the debate can be done in English."

He also said that this campaign is not his "No. l priority right now" because he is extremely busy doing what he was elected to do.

What Bilbray was elected to do was serve the constituents of the 50th District until November's election. Congress even gave him and other members time off to campaign in their home districts.

It's not that he hasn't been asked. Back in June, the AARP invited Bilbray and Busby to debate on the Saturday morning of Oct. 7 at the Encinitas United Methodist Church. The night before the debate, Bilbray declined the invitation. He did likewise to an invitation from local radio station KLSD.

It's not that he doesn't have the time. Bilbray recently had time for cocktails, conversation and fundraising for the invited few at Rancho Santa Fe's Mille Fleurs restaurant.
We constituents deserve more than "face time" with this conveniently transplanted North County resident. We need a public forum where we can ask tough questions of every candidate.
Bilbray's invisibility in the district has independents looking at Busby again. Bilbray's support of the Republican agenda, Bush's Iraqi war and Dennis Hastert's failure to protect 16 year olds from a sexual predator all factor into this changing public mood.

Remember, too, Bilbray's support among Republican conservatives is luke warm at best and the impact on a GOTV effort that doesn't utilize the conservative and religious base will be a reduction in the number of Republicans delivered to the polls on Election Day.