Carrying The Momentum From November?
John Caldwell was the 2003 Republican nominee for the Northern District Transportation Commission position, but his campaign time was cut short when he was activated to military duty. A little less than eight years later, Caldwell is making another run for the post in the January 11 special election following the death of Bill Minor.
Caldwell- more than any other candidate in the race- is running on his party affiliation and making sure every voter knows he is a Republican. As we have talked about, there will be no party label on the ballot in less than two weeks.
But Caldwell talks about ‘carrying the momentum’ from November on his campaign site: “I am asking for your vote and support as we trek the 33-counties in a few short weeks. We need to maintain the momentum gained when America’s voters returned to our conservative roots, including the resounding victory of State Senator Alan Nunnelee for Congress. It’s time a conservative Republican voice went to Jackson for us in Mississippi’s Department of Transportation.”
Special elections can, at times, be a fitting sign of things to come. But they can also be overrated. Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts last year gave Republicans reason for optimism about the fall elections. But a couple months later, Democrat Mark Critz won a special election to fill the term of the late John Murtha in a swing district that John McCain won in 2008. Obviously, the GOP did just fine in the fall even without the district.
There are plenty of variables in special elections. Beside the lack of party labels, there is no telling what the turnout will be like (especially one just a couple weeks after Christmas and a couple months after Congressional elections). But, for better or worse, they are an indicator of momentum. The GOP has carried the momentum from November with four party switchers so far; a win in this previously Democratic held seat would further strengthen the perception that 2011 is going to be a bad year for Democrats in the state.