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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Lessons From MA-5

E.J. Dionne has a nice wrap-up of the buzz coming out of Tuesday’s special congressional election in Massachussets, in which Democrat Niki Tsongas won a less-than-overwhelming victory over Republican Jim Ogonowski.
The “surprise issue” of the election, says Dionne, was illegal immigration, with Ogonowski getting some traction from attacks on Tsongas for supporting in-state college tuition rates for the children of illegals. More generally, Ogonowski’s efforts to separate himself from Bush and congressional Republicans by posing as an anti-Washington “outsider” are likely to provide a template for Republican challengers next year.
But in the end, Dionne suggests, the Republican could not distance himself from the profoundly unpopular Iraq War and Bush’s S-CHIP veto, and those two issues gave Tsongas her crucial advantage.

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