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The Ol' Cheap Gas Trick

Despite the storms and tornadoes plaguing Tupelo, Mississippi today, Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers is making three stops around the First District today to offer a few lucky motorists some relief at the gas pump.

Childers, the Democratic candidate in Tuesday's special primary runoff election, plans to pump gas at stations in Grenada, Columbus and Tupelo, charging the first fifty drivers at each location just $1.25 a gallon, for up to 10 gallons of gas. According to a state Democratic Party press release, that was the price of gas on March 5, 1997, "the day Republican Greg Davis voted in the state Legislature to increase the state tax on a barrel of oil produced in Mississippi."

The tactic comes from a Democratic challenger in North Carolina's 8th District, who ran one of the more unique races of 2006. Larry Kissell, who lost by only 329 votes to GOP Rep. Robin Hayes, may be best-remembered for the campaign mascot he brought to events -- a goat he named CAFTA to highlight Hayes's vote in support of the issue. But Kissell also sold gas to voters at $1.22 a gallon, the price when Hayes took office in 1998. The move gave Kissell, who was outspent four-to-one, the kind of media attention he needed, though without the DCCC's help he fell just short of an upset.

Childers finds himself in far better position to win the seat than Kissell in 2006. Despite the Republican tilt of the district, Childers led Davis 49%-46% in the April 22 special primary, but was forced to a runoff because he didn't win more than half the votes. Childers is also enjoying strong support from the DCCC, which sees another great opportunity to pick up a Republican seat before the 2008 elections even take place.

-- Kyle Trygstad