Tuesday, March 11, 2014

FL 13 After-Thoughts


I didn't make a prediction -- publicly or privately -- as to who would win the special US House election in Florida's 13th district today. I did, however, make some comments elsewhere on the importance, or lack thereof, of the election to November's outcomes. Here's the substance of those comments.

This election is far more important for the Democrats than for the Republicans.

The president's party generally loses seats in mid-term elections, and that's the rational expectation for this year. Barack Obama is not an especially popular president at the moment.

Florida 13 was the Democrats' chance to generate some momentum against that rational expectation by picking up an open seat that's been cradling a GOP butt for 40 years.

I won't say that such a pickup looked easy for the Democrats, but it certainly looked doable for the Democrats. Their candidate was Alex Sink -- well-known and relatively popular former state CFO and gubernatorial candidate. The district voted for Obama (by small margins, but for Obama) in 2008 and 2012. That seat was Republican by virtue of the strengths of long-term incumbency more than anything else. Then the incumbent died.

The Republicans ran relatively unknown lobbyist David Jolly. Yes, they made a race of it. Yes, they spent money on it. But had they lost, it wouldn't have been the end of the world, for the reasons listed in the previous paragraph. Their main goal seems to have been to use the race as a test lab for attacking Democrats on ObamaCare.

With 100% of precincts reporting, Jolly seems to have won with a "no automatic recount" margin of 1.9%, 48.5% to 46.6%. Libertarian Party candidate Lucas Overby racked up an eminently respectable 4.8%.

For Republicans, that's a pretty good outing, although not a really big deal.

For Democrats, it would seem to augur a rout in November. There's a very good chance they will lose their US Senate majority. Odds-makers, take note.

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