<\body> Stories in America: Democrats are Winning in Conservative Districts

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Democrats are Winning in Conservative Districts

As many high-profile DC Democrats struggle to find their voice and stand up for their constituents, state Democrats are sweeping special elections in traditionally conservative areas:
The results show that state-level progressive candidates are better poised than at any time in the past 14 years to benefit from a defection of moderate conservatives and a slight left turn in the electorate.

In central Texas, nurse and former school board member Donna Howard beat Ben Bentzin in a Feb. 14 special state House race in suburban Travis County, outside Austin. Howard's win signaled that Democrats can stand tough even in Republican-tilted districts imposed by 'the DeLay-mander,' a revamping of federal districts now under scrutiny by the Supreme Court.

The same day in Kentucky, in a race that drew media attention and doorknockers from three states, Perry Clark, a veteran and Boy Scout volunteer, took the 37th state Senate seat. He won 54 to 46 percent in a district that snakes inland from the Ohio River on the southwest side of Louisville. It too was carried by the GOP in 2004.

Next door in Virginia, Mark Herring took a state Senate seat in the D.C. suburbs that Democrats hadn't even contested in 2002. The landslide 62 to 38 percent win on Jan. 31 sent shockwaves through the GOP, already reeling from a blow just three weeks earlier. In Jerry Fallwell's stomping ground of Lynchburg, Shannon Valentine rode to a 58 to 42 win for a seat that also hadn't drawn a Democratic challenger last time around.

Missouri, a battleground that rates as the best bellwether of presidential elections, has seen Democratic victories in conservative districts as well. In February, down in Ashcroft Country, the state's southwest corner, Charles Dake claimed a state House seat, 56 to 44 percent, that his party hadn't even sought in 2004.
This is just a partial list of victories. Are the DC Dems are paying attention?


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