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There are three more special elections for the U.S. House coming up in the next five weeks, on the heels of the two we enjoyed in early March (where Democrats Bill Foster and Andre Carson enjoyed impressive victories).

Next on the table is the race in Mississippi's 1st District (to fill the seat of now-Senator Roger Wicker,) which will be held on April 22. Both parties' nominees will be determined tomorrow via runoff elections tomorrow.

Subsequently, Louisiana's 1st and 6th Districts will hold special elections on May 3 (to fill the old seats of now-Governor Bobby Jindal in the 1st, and now-lobbyist Richard Baker in the 6th).

All three of these districts are generally solidly red territory. The most Democratic of the three is LA-06, and that is hardly blue territory (it is R+7 according to Cook PVI, and Bush swamped Kerry 59-40 there). Nevertheless, we have a legitimate shot at winning that race, and the potential for a somewhat competitive race in MS-01 as well.

LA-01 is one of the most strongly Republican districts in the nation. Cook ranks it as the 16th-most, in fact, as it sports an impressive PVI of R+18.5. Bush managed 71% of the vote in LA-01 against John Kerry, following up on his 67-31 victory over Gore in 2000.

Bobby Jindal won 88% of the vote in 2006, after winning 78% in 2004, and his predecessor David Vitter did just as well; Diaper Dave got 82% in 2002 and 80% in 2000.

Our candidate is Gilda Reed, a psychology professor and DKos diarist. She'll face off against the Republican winner of an April 5 runoff between State Sen. Steve Scalise and State Rep. Tim Burns, with Scalise being the favorite to win the nomination.

Reed's campaign has generated a good bit of excitement here, and while I don't want to be a wet blanket, I think this district is as close to invulnerable for the Republicans as you can get. That's not a criticism of Reed, who is running hard. It's just that it would take something north of a miracle for a Democrat to win here at this time.

The Baton Rouge-based LA-06, however, is nowhere near as strongly Republican, and the special-election race here has become a serious pickup opportunity for Democrats. As Kos noted on Friday, the Cook Political Report has moved their ranking of this race to "Tossup", which is surprising and impressive considering the district's Republican bent.

Our candidate will be determined in a runoff election on Saturday, April 5 (as will the Republican candidate). The Democratic runoff pits the frontrunner, State Rep. and conservative Democrat Don Cazayoux, against fellow State Rep. Michael Jackson.  The winner will presumably face off against Republican frontrunner Woody Jenkins, the 1996 candidate for U.S. Senate.

As evidenced by the Cook ranking, Cazayoux is given a pretty good shot at winning the race. I'd say a win here would still be an upset, but it's certainly plausible. This should be a fascinating race to follow over the next month.

The race in MS-01 is somewhere between the two Louisiana races; it isn't a top-tier race by any stretch, as LA-06 is, but I think we've got a slightly better shot here than in LA-01. It's a very tough district, R+10, but not quite forbidden territory. Tomorrow's runoff election pits Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers against State Rep. Steve Holland on the Democratic side, while Republicans Greg Davis and Glenn McCullough face off.

Both Childers and Holland have posted decent, if unspectacular, fundraising numbers. This race is a very long shot, but should be at least worth keeping an eye on.

With at least one top-tier race, and three races in all, it should be a highly interesting month.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 06:02 PM PDT.

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