by Kevin Allman
Clancy posted this forecast of the Dec. 6 matchup between Democrat Bill Jefferson or Helena Moreno and the Republican challenger, Joseph Cao:
I agree that overall turnout will be low -- probably less than 20 percent overall. However, it very likely will not be the same turnout among black as well as white voters. Historically, in "off" elections such as this, the black turnout drops off precipitously. Let's say, just for purposes of discussion, that the overall turnout is 17 percent, as you suggest. It likely would be about 12 percent among blacks and 22 or 24 percent among whites. Numbers such as those make it entirely possible for Cao to win, for several reasons.
First, there are some 19,000 registered Republicans in the Second Congressional District who have not yet had a chance to vote AGAINST Bill Jefferson. Most of them, I suspect, are eager to do so regardless of what happens tonight in the race for president. Second, I doubt seriously that Barack Obama and the Democrats will go to the well for Jefferson. Their majority will already be well estaablished, and they also will want to get as far from a scandal as they can. Third, the national GOP will pour lots of resources into this race because they see an opening -- and a chance to get a badly needed "win." For a relatively small amount of money nationally ($300,000 or so), the GOP can potentially make a statement.
Granted, Cao will have a tough time holding onto this seat in two years, but for now he represents a decent shot for the GOP to win one.