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20.7.08

Thrice lucky, fortune looks to abandon Melancon in 2010

The accidental congressman, Rep. Charlie Melancon, earned a free ride back to the House of Representatives. Good for him, as it’s likely to be his last term

Democrat Melancon won narrowly back in 2004 only because of internecine warfare between Republican candidates and was the district that year with the highest percentage of the vote for Pres. George W. Bush (57) that elected a Democrat. He got lucky again in 2006 when former state Sen. Craig Romero, the Republican who had waged the scorched earth campaign against Melancon’s GOP opponent in the general election runoff even after his elimination, was Melancon’s main opponent and given the ill will Romero had generated because of his 2004 actions, an unfavorable election cycle for Republicans, and hurricane displacement effects, Melancon won reelection.

Now in 2008, Melancon convinced enough political activists in the district that he had enough of a moderate image that he would be tough to topple in a year where the GOP is likely to have to expend resources in other places to defend their seats, and drew no opponents. In large part this was constructed with his initial two years of votes, where, according to the American Conservative Union’s scorecard, he racked up moderately conservative scores of 61 and 76.

Note that this was a period of Republican control of the chamber where he treaded lightly to burnish his credentials for reelection to a district which ideologically he really didn’t represent. But when his Democrats took over in 2007, the real Melancon showed up. Last year the ACU scored him at 36, solidly liberal, with Melancon’s votes including to increase the minimum wage, against the Iraq “surge” that is bringing the war to a successful conclusion, against religious freedom in hiring practices, against earmark reform, to delay construction of the Mexican border fence, to allow more union coercion in workplace elections, to allow wasteful expansion of the Children’s Insurance Program and new taxes to fund it (twice), and against expanding domestic energy production.

It’s a very vulnerable record, but luck was yet again on his side. But that looks to change in 2010. At that time, Melancon probably will abandon his seat to make a run for the Senate against Sen. David Vitter that, while it is not a longshot, in which he will be a definite underdog.

Taking this gamble to leave his seat in 2010 he must because there probably won’t be a House seat for him in 2012. With Louisiana sure to lose a House seat in redistricting, at the top of the list for disappearance will be his Third District, as a Republican-led state government aided by Democrat black legislators who wish to preserve the Second District (around New Orleans) and make other seats more competitive for blacks see his as their natural target.

So he either takes a less than even-money Senate shot at Vitter in 2010, or he almost certainly is out of a job in 2012 if getting even reelected to the House in 2010. Either way, it looks like Melancon’s luck finally may run out.

1 comment:

T. Wong said...

Looks like the marketplace of ideas is favoring the liberals these days, Dr. Colbert.