This race should be considered a toss-up; it is strongly conservative in nature and the incumbent, Travis Childers, has demonstrated himself to be a very conservative Democrat. But Alan Nunnelee is a tough competitor and this race could come down to the wire.
Candidates for Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District (two-year term)
(This district includes all or part of De Soto, Marshal, Tate, Panola, Lafayette, Yalabusha, Grenada, Benton, Tippah, Alcorn, Tishomingo, Itawamaba, Lee, Union, Pontotoc, Calhoun, Webster, Choctaw, Clay, Chickasaw, Monroe and Lowndes counties. Additionally, the cities of Oxford, Corinth, Tupelo, and Columbus are in this district. See a boundary map here.)
Candidate: Travis Childers
Political experience: Before becoming the district’s representative in 2008, Childers served for 16 years as Prentiss County Chancery Clerk and was president of the Mississippi Chancery Clerks Association.
Professional experience: Childers owns a personal care home, Landmark Community, and the Landmark Nursing Center.
Key issues: Childers says he feels shoring up Medicaid shortfalls and closing the Medicare Part D donut hole is a part of looking out for his senior constituents, though he did vote against the health care reforms. He wouldn’t raise the retirement age or privatize Social Security.
He has an A+ from the NRA for his pro-gun voting record and has a 100 percent pro-life voting record, according to his website.
Endorsements: Childers has earned endorsements from the NRA and the National Right to Life.
Chances of maintaining his seat: As an incumbent, Childers has the natural advantage of incumbency, which provides name recognition. Given the atmosphere of this election, it could be a real disadvantage as well. Despite trying to make a name for himself as a conservative Democrat with key conservative endorsements like the NRA and National Right to Life, Childers will have a difficult October.
Candidate: Alan Nunnelee
Political experience: Nunnelee is a Mississippi state senator and chairman of the Committee on Appropriations.
Professional experience: Nunnelee is vice president of Allied Funeral Associates, a life insurance firm. He is also a deacon and Sunday School teacher at Cavalry Baptist Church in Tupelo.
Key issues: Nunnelee says he agrees health care reform is necessary, but he doesn’t like the way it’s been handled. He says insurance should be portable across jobs and state lines, and that insurers shouldn’t drop individuals or families due to illness. Small businesses should be able to purchase coverage at the same rates large corporations are able to, he says, and tort reform is an important part of health care reform.
He says government should be more transparent and elected officials to be held to a higher ethical standard. He says on his website that he is pro-life and for the traditional definition of marriage.
Endorsements: Nunnelee has been supported by Concerned Women Political Action Committee and Mike Huckabee.
Chances of unseating Travis Childers: Childers appears to still be better funded than Nunnelee; he has $903,469 remaining, while Nunnelee has $233,205, according to OpenSecrets.org. But Nunnelee has outspent his opponent thus far, having cashed out $665,390, as opposed to Childers’ $396,434. The spending will have helped him get his message out, which can only help his cause. Add in that it’s a tough year for Democrats in a district that favors Republicans, and Nunnelee has good odds to pull out an upset.
Key Differences between Alan Nunnelee and Travis Childers
Jobs: Childers feels his No. 1 job is jump-starting the economy. He wants to make sure that small-business tax credits and loans are used to help stimulate the economy, while fighting to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs out of the country. Nunnelee wants to create a pro-jobs environment by reducing regulatory restrictions and change tax policy to be more conducive to small business.
Deficit reduction: Nunnelee wants a top-to-bottom spending review of all federal agencies — not to cut spending, but to reconsider how government operates. Calling himself a fiscal hawk, Childers highlights that he is against taxpayer dollars being wasted; he opposed bailing out Wall street banks. He wants to cut non-defense spending and balance the budget.
Mississippi‘s 1st U.S. Congressional District
Location: The Mississippi’s 1st District is located in the northern part of the state. It borders Tennessee and Alabama and includes Tupelo and Oxford.
2008 results: Childers received 54 percent of the vote to Republican ‘s Greg Davis 44 percent.
Demographics: According to the U.S. Census, 69.1 percent of the district is white, 27.1 percent black, 3.2 percent Asian, and 2.1 percent Hispanic.
The Cook Partisan Index gives the Mississippi 1st District a rating of R+14, providing Republicans with a very strong advantage in this district.