Democrat Don Cazayoux won a close special election last night in heavily Republican LA-06. In contrast to the MS-01 race which I bemoaned earlier, the DCCC spend heavily and well in LA-06, including significant late expenditures on get-out-the-vote organizing, which is critical in special elections.

Spending's important, but what's more interesting to me about this race, which occurred in a district redder than the 29th, is that Cazayoux won on the issues, and the Republican campaign of Woody Jenkins lost on the same old NRCC playbook that seems to be wearing thin with voters.

The NRCC, which also spent heavily, ran a couple of ads tying Cazayoux to the "Obama-Pelosi team". These ads also claimed that Cazayoux would raise taxes. An independent organization called "Freedom's Watch" also ran attack ads, including this gem, which highlighted Cazayoux's vote against a bill that would put "In God We Trust" on the wall in schools. That ad was pulled by a local station because it also claimed, falsely, that Cazayoux wanted to extend health benefits to illegal aliens.

Cazayoux's ads, which can be viewed here, were about healthcare and middle-class tax cuts. His issue page leads with education, and he also supports withdrawal from Iraq.

Cazayoux is the second Democrat to win a special election this year in a heavily Republican district. In March, ex-Speaker Dennis Hastert's old seat (IL-14) fell to Democrat Bill Foster, who ran mainly on Iraq (his ads are here). The number-one issue on his opponent Jim Oberweis' issue page is illegal immigration, and Oberweis' harsh immigration ads in an earlier campaign were apparently based on false data. The DCCC also spent heavily on this race.

It's easy to make too much from a sample size of two, but if I were the Kuhl campaign, I'd be wondering about running the NRCC playbook this fall. Saying a Democrat will raise taxes, that he'll allow a horde of immigrants to cross the border, and trying to link him to supposedly toxic figures like Pelosi and Obama didn't work in two recent elections. And Republican voters are electing Democrats who say they'll end the war in Iraq and do something about healthcare. When you're on the wrong side of too many issues, the usual distractions won't work. Perhaps its time for Republicans to start talking about their positive agenda, if they have one.