With Gabby Giffords holding an uncommitted vote for our next Democratic Presidential nominee, it would be wise of her to consider what that nominee can bring to her own race for re-election.
Rookie scientist-citizen candidate Bill Foster's 53-47 upset victory in former Speaker Dennis Hastert's old district demonstrates that Obama, who endorsed and campaigned for Foster, has the ability to provide strong cross-partisan coattails and heavy favorable turn-out in a Republican district, even before his nomination. The 14th District historically has been very Republican, re-electing Hastert with 60 percent of the vote in 2006 and giving President Bush 55 percent of the vote in 2004.
Gabby faces a similar challenge as a freshman Member in a formerly Repubulican-held, and still Republican-plurality district. Whose endorsement would serve her re-election chances better? Who does she want cutting ads for her as the Presidential nominee? Who does she want stumping for her in her district?
Many viewed the Foster-Oberweis contest as a proxy fight of sorts between Obama (backing Foster) and McCain (backing Oberweis). Clearly Obama had the home-state advantage, but McCain had the numbers in the district.
Come November, with McCain certain to be the nominee, he'll have a home-state advantage in Arizona's CD 8 that Tim Bee is hoping to parlay into a victory in this plurality-Republican district.
Gabby would be best served by the backing of a nominee who has a proven ability to provide coat-tails in even in a much more Republican district—IL's 14th—than AZ's 8th. At this point, the only alternative to Sen. Obama for Gabby is a nominee who has long-entrenched negatives among Republicans, and who—at least in comparison to Sen. Obama—leaves Independents cold. And Independents will decide the Congressional race in CD 8.
Gabby would do well to ponder deeply the miracle that Bill Foster pulled off with Obama's help when she decides who should get her vote for Democratic nominee at the convention.