Tag Archives: Florida

Dems Eye House Takeover

Considering the events of the past few weeks, Democrats are now buoyed over their improved chances of wresting the House majority away from the Republicans next year. Most of the early election cycle analysis has been about the Republicans’ chances in the Senate, but the Democrat’s offensive in district elections certainly deserves further attention.

First, a series of MoveOn.org government shutdown polls in Republican-held congressional districts, 61 to be exact, showed most of those particular GOP incumbents to be already trailing a generic Democrat candidate.

Second, the death of Rep. Bill Young (R-FL-13) opens one of 16 seats that in 2012 voted both for President Obama and a Republican congressman. The special election format could further aid the Democrats in their quest to win this seat.

Third, the surprise retirement announcement from sophomore Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR-2) puts a “Lean Republican” seat into play that had previously elected a Democrat in every term since 1982, consecutively, until the current incumbent won in 2010.

Fourth, the Democratic Party leaders report that their House candidate recruitment has substantially improved.

Though the cumulative effect of these recent events has, at least for the short term, improved the Democrat’s prospects, substantial hurdles remain to be overcome if they are to gain the net 17 seats needed to claim a one-seat majority.

The Dems’ top impediment is the small number of open seats (20), which feature only four currently competitive Republican incumbent-less seats. Therefore, the number of realistic conversion opportunities is modest. In the last cycle, by comparison, the number of open seats was a huge 62.

Second, the Democrats must defend at least 18 of their own seats where Republicans themselves have strong, or relatively strong, conversion opportunities. Realistically, the Dems will have to sweep this category to have any real chance of regaining chamber control.
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Senior-Most Republican House Member, Rep. Young, Dies; Surprising LA-5 Primary Results

Rep. Bill Young

Rep. Bill Young

Last week, the House Republicans’ most senior member, Florida Rep. Bill Young, announced that he would retire at the end of the current term and not be on the congressional ballot for the first time since 1970. On Friday, the 82-year-old congressman passed away due to complications from a serious back operation. Young had endured chronic back problems ever since surviving a small plane crash the year he was first elected to federal office.

In the entire House, only representatives John Dingell (D-MI-12), John Conyers (D-MI-13), and Charlie Rangel (D-NY-13), had more seniority than Young. The late congressman was the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee chairman. He served as full Appropriations Committee chairman from 1999-2005.

Young’s western Tampa Bay peninsula district now becomes the House’s fourth vacant seat. Gov. Rick Scott (R) soon will call a special election to fill the position for the remainder of the term. Political musical chairs were already beginning to move due to the incumbent’s retirement announcement, but now potential candidates will be forced to quickly make decisions as we head toward a special election.

All eyes will be on former state chief financial officer and gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink (D) who last week expressed interest in running for Congress, a month  Continue reading >

Booker Wins in NJ; Sink Heading to Congress?

New Jersey

For the past three weeks virtually all the pollsters surveying the special New Jersey Senate campaign projected an 11-point victory for Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), and that’s exactly what happened.

Last night, Booker defeated former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan (R) by a 55-44 percent margin. The electoral result allows him to fill the remaining portion of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D) final term in office. He will be eligible to run for a full six-year term in November 2014.

Booker began the special election as the heir-apparent to this seat, and commanded early polling leads that exceeded 20 points. His advantage then decreased to low double-digits, and that’s where it stood until the end of the campaign. Republicans never put up much of a fight for the seat, virtually conceding the race to Booker from the time Gov. Chris Christie (R) decided to call a special election to fill the remainder of the term. He could have made an interim appointment that would have lasted through the 113th Congress, but decided to allow the people to choose Lautenberg’s successor.

Christie did appoint then-state Attorney General Jeff Chiesa (R) to serve in the Senate on an interim basis. He will depart when Booker is officially sworn into office. Last night’s election results return the Senate Democrats to a 55-45 advantage.

More than 1.3 million individuals cast ballots in the special general election, just about 24 percent of the registered voter base. Turnout was about average considering there was little suspense or competitive excitement associated with the campaign.

FL-13

The retirement of Florida’s 43-year congressional veteran Bill Young (R) opens his politically marginal 13th Congressional District for the first time in more than four decades, and a new development likely makes it the best Democratic conversion opportunity in the country.

At the beginning of the week, 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and former Florida Chief Financial Officer  Continue reading >

AL-1 Special is Tomorrow; Gov. Announcements in Mass. and Fla.

Alabama

Voters in southwest Alabama go to the polls tomorrow for the special primary election to fill resigned Rep. Jo Bonner’s (R-AL-1) Mobile-anchored district. While the Democrats probably will choose realtor and state representative candidate Burton LeFlore as their nominee, the favored Republicans are almost certainly headed to a run-off election scheduled for Nov. 5. The GOP’s second election will likely determine the identity of Bonner’s successor.

Nine Republicans are on the ballot tomorrow, and former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne appears favored to secure one of the two run-off positions. If things go according to script, the other qualifier will be one of the following: businessman and former congressional candidate Dean Young, conservative columnist Quin Hillyer, former Republican National Committee deputy chief of staff Webb Griffith, or state Rep. Chad Fincher.

Through the Sept. 4 pre-primary Federal Election Commission disclosure period, the aforementioned candidates all find themselves within the same fundraising realm. Byrne tops the list with just over $317,000 raised. The three others, with the exception of Fincher, are between $162,000 and $176,000 in receipts. Fincher has obtained just over $102,000.

If one of the Republicans does secure an outright majority, the special general will then be held on Nov. 5. If the primary results in the expected run-off, the general occurs on Dec. 17.

Massachusetts

Eight-term Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA-7) is expected to unveil a gubernatorial campaign bid this week. The congressman has run for statewide office before, losing to Attorney General Martha Coakley in the special Democratic senatorial primary election back in 2010. Coakley would then go on to lose to Republican Scott Brown in the special general. Capuano scored 28 percent of the primary vote compared to the Attorney General’s 47 percent.

The congressman flirted with the idea of running for the Senate in 2012, but backed  Continue reading >

U.S. House Outlook

With virtually all of the early election cycle attention being paid to the Senate races, it’s time to divert and take a preliminary look at the upcoming House projections. As we know, the Republicans have a 233-200 advantage with two vacant seats. Later this year, both the MA-5 seat of Sen. Ed Markey (D) and resigned Rep. Jo Bonner’s (R-AL-1) seat will be filled in special elections. Each party is expected to hold the seat they previously maintained.

Assuming the parties do hold, the Democrats will need to convert 17 Republican districts to claim a one seat majority. Based upon the early numbers, the paucity of open seats, quantity and quality of challengers, 2011 redistricting plans that generally created safe seats for both parties, and what should be a more favorable (to the GOP) mid-term turnout model, the Republicans should be able to hold the House majority if not modestly expand their numbers.

In the 2012 cycle, due to redistricting and an abnormally large number of House members retiring or running for different offices, 62 seats were open. Therefore, the fact that only 17 seats are incumbent-less at this point in time, including both of the vacant seats and Rep. Rodney Alexander’s LA-5 district that he will leave before the end of the month to accept an appointment in Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) administration, means even fewer contested campaigns.

Of the 17 opens, 10 are Republican-held with the remaining seven under Democratic Party control. No open seat is in the toss-up category and only a pair could be conceivably considered a lean (R or D) CD depending upon the final candidate field developing in each situation. The two opens that could be headed in the lean direction are AR-4 (Rep. Tom Cotton – Lean R) and WV-2 (Rep. Shelley Moore Capito – Lean R).

Only seven seats are today considered toss-ups, and five of those are Democratic districts. Obviously, if the Dems are to make a serious run at the Republican majority, the number of GOP seats in this segment must drastically increase.

The seven toss-up contests are:

• AZ-2 – Rep. Ron Barber (D) – 2012 re-election %: 50
Barber again will likely face 2012 nominee  Continue reading >