(OXFORD, MISS.) A quick and informal look at the festivities taking place on the campus here at the University of Mississippi indicates that among those taking in the presidential debate atmosphere, John McCain was the slight favorite. Amidst the political booths, concert stage and displays mingled hundreds of students and supporters of both candidates. But a brief glance strongly suggests this is McCain country.
Even on a college campus, that should be no surprise in this part of the country, long a Republican stronghold at all levels. But Oxford is located in Mississippi's First Congressional District, which has become a rallying point for Democrats all over the country and a sign of extreme worry for Republicans.
After Governor Haley Barbour appointed Congressman Roger Wicker to the U.S. Senate earlier this year, Democrat Travis Childers won a special election to fill his First District House seat. President Bush won the district in 2004 with over 60 percent of the vote but the Childers win was one in a series of Democratic special election victories this year that sent chills throughout the Republican Party. As bad a sign as the Childers win was though, the McCain campaign probably isn't sweating their chances here in the First District for November. If they're losing here, they have much bigger problems to worry about.