Tom Humphrey, who lives in the district in Bell Buckle, analyzes the contest here and discusses its importance. The district tilts Democratic, so if Republicans win, it'll demonstrate just how much the electorate really despises Barack Obama, and that will portend terribly bad things for the party of Andy Jackson in 2010. If Democrats don't hold this seat, it'll be easier for Republicans to cling to power in next year's elections and then redraw legislative district lines to screw Democrats, etc., etc.
To the list of what it might mean if Democrats lose this little election, Pith would like to add one possibility: Chip Forrester and his band of head-in-the-clouds activists finally might demonstrate that they truly are as useless as their grizzled critics always have claimed.
Forrester's supporters say his strong point is organizing the grassroots and getting out the vote, among other important tasks. Well, that's what this is all about. Because turnout is so light in a special election, the ground game is all important. Forrester himself acknowledges this election is a test of his skills.
"This is the first chance to really put the ground operation that we've been building in the field and see how it works," he tells Pith. If Democrats lose, the question then becomes: What's the point of Forrester?
Here's more from Forrester on the District 62 race:
"It's a very conservative Democratic district. It has shifted over the years to be slightly more Republican and more conservative than years ago. Special elections just in their own right, they're just very squirrelly. They don't operate with the same metric that a standard general election campaign operates. It's very, very low on people's radar screen. It's about identifying your base and getting those voters to the polls.
"It would be stretching it to say this is a must-win. It's not the end of the Democratic Party. We have 99 seats up next year and we'll be competitive in a number of those to try to take back the House. But I also don't want to underplay the importance of it, and we've initiated a very, very intense ground game. Our entire staff here is spending the bulk of their time on the ground in House District 62.
"I ran for chair with the notion that we were going to build the party from the grassroots up. We do the blocking and the tackling. We're the line and the quarterback and the other guys, they do the fancy footwork. They're our state reps. Our job is to give them protection so the quarterback can drop back, do the fancy footwork and execute the pass. Our work is not sexy. It's just hard work. It's not glamorous."