No link yet, but I’m hearing that local news out west has called for Republican Brian Bilbray in CA-50.
UPDATE: This report might have been wrong, as in someone misheard the TV; it’s been an hour and I can’t find any indication that anyone called the race. But given the way the count is going — 56.6% of precincts are in as I write, and Bilbray has been at least 4 points ahead every time I’ve looked — it will be quite surprising if Bilbray doesn’t come out on top in the end. (LATER: It’s official, Bilbray wins.)
This is Duke Cunningham’s district, and though it leans Republican — Bush won with 55% in 2004 and 54% in 2000 — the smell of scandal made this a close race. Democrat Francine Busby stepped into a bear trap, though, when she publicly told a Latino man who said “I want to help, but I don’t have papers” that “You don’t need papers for voting.” She says she misspoke, and indeed the context is mitigating; her whole answer was “Everybody can help, yeah, absolutely, you can all help. You don’t need papers for voting, you don’t need to be a registered voter to help.” See, she wasn’t saying illegal aliens should vote, merely that they should volunteer to help her campaign. You decide if that’s much better.
A Busby win would have fed an endless drumbeat of commentary about how doomed the GOP is in November. It doesn’t look like Busby will win, now, though that doesn’t mean the drumbeat won’t come anyway; it feeds into reporters’ biases, and I don’t just mean liberalism. To political reporters, tight races are better than loose races, and incumbents are destined to be in trouble. It’s simple psychology: Who wants to believe the beat he covers is boring or predictable?
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