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Dick Cheney rides to the (congressional) rescue

May 9, 2008 | 11:09 am

It is a measure of how concerned Republicans are about the recent House special election losses in Illinois and Louisiana that Dick Cheney will be traveling to Mississippi next week to participate in the get-out-the-vote effort for Greg Davis.

Davis, the Republican mayor of Southaven, Miss., is in a tough fight against Democrat Travis Childers, the Prentiss County chancery clerk, in the Tuesday special-election runoff vote to succeed former Rep. Roger Wicker in the state's 1st Congressional District.

"This seat is a very important one," Cheney told Mississippi radio host Paul Gallow this morning ahead of next week's trip. "It's been in conservative hands for a long time, and we'd hate to see the liberals gain control."

Note that Cheney didn't say "Republican hands" and "Democrats."

After losing the House majority in 2006, Republicans have been spooked by continued losses this year in Illinois, where Bill Foster won the seat long held by former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and in Louisiana, where Don Cazayoux took a seat that had been Republican since 1975.

As a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat, Childers has a profile similar to Cazayoux, who won last week despite Republican efforts to tie him to Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. Republicans are trying to paint Childers, who came within several hundred votes of an outright majority in the six-candidate special election last month, with the same brush.

-- Matthew Hay Brown

Matthew Hay Brown writes for the Swamp of the Chicago Tribune's Washington bureau.