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12/07/2004

 

C. Cook on Louisiana's 3rd


Republican Billy Tauzin III, son of Representative Billy Tauzin Jr., lost his bid to succeed his dad in Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District by 500 votes out of 115,000 cast. In his weekly e-mail column, "Off to the Races," Charlie Cook reveals why:
In the 3rd District, Billy Tauzin III got a great deal of attention, particularly in Washington, in the contest to replace his father, retiring GOP Rep. W.J. (Billy) Tauzin, a former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

But the younger Tauzin was an unimpressive candidate with a campaign that was not fated to win any awards at all.

The line "Little Billy" stuck to the 31-year-old candidate like tar paper, costing him the district that President Bush carried just last month.

The winner, former state Rep. Charlie Melancon, a former president of the American Sugar Cane League, ran an aggressive campaign and effectively positioned himself as the adult in the race.

Even with that, the contest was close, with Melancon winning by only 517 votes, 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent.
We had a similar dynamic here in Pennsylvania's 9th, four years ago, when longtime Transportation Committee Chairman Bud Shuster (R-Pennsylvania) resigned of a sudden. His son Bill ran to succeed him in the special election against a Democrat named Scott Conklin, who ran a very aggressive campaign against "young Bill Shuster." In the end, the contest wasn't close, but it was closer than it should have been.

Cook writes that he expects Representative Melancon, the one who just defeated the younger Tauzin, to be "seriously challenged the next election cycle." For Shuster, the challenge skipped the 2002 election and came from within the party this year. (Bill Shuster was reelected, and he rightly voted against the 9-11 Commission Bill.)

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