Democrat Travis Childers won the first congressional district seat in north Mississippi this week. He claimed an office that has been held by a Republican since 1994.
Childers defeated Republican Greg Davis in a special election run-off to fill the last several months of Roger Wicker's term. Wicker was appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour to replace Sen. Trent Lott, who resigned with five years remaining on his term.
Lauderdale County Democratic Party chair Melba Clark said this is a good sign for the Democrats. She says the party may have a good chance to ease its way back into leading Mississippi politics.
Wicker is running in a special election in November to serve out the term. Former Mississippi governor, Ronnie Musgrove, a Democrat, is also in the race. Some say Musgrove has the better chance to win because he has statewide recognition. Wicker has never run a statewide campaign.
"You really can't sugarcoat the fact it was a Republican district that went for the Democrat. So that's not a good sign," said state Rep. Greg Snowden, a Republican. "It means we have to work harder."
With the hotly-contested presidential race on the same ballot as the congressional and senate races, results could go either way.
"I believe Barack Obama's presence on the ticket will increase the turnout, particularly in the African-American areas. That may help Childers," said Snowden. "It might help Ronnie Musgrove, who's running against Roger Wicker."
"Because the governor appointed the Republican to fill that vacancy and a Democrat said the election should have been held in 90 days but it wasn't. So in November, they will have an opportunity to vote and their voices will be heard," said Clark. "And the result very much could be different. We'll just have to see."