DCCC Not Inclined to Play Much in Florida in 2014

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: March 4, 2014 3:55 AM
Dan Webster, Steve Southerland, Vern Buchanan

Dan Webster, Steve Southerland, Vern Buchanan

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) tipped its hand on Monday, showing little optimism that it will be looking to defeat Republican congressmen from Florida with the exception of Steve Southerland.

The DCCC came out with its list of 35 “red to blue” and “emerging races” congressional contests where they hope to topple Republican incumbents. Democrats clearly have their targeted states lined up as they hope to win back Congress from the GOP with multiple Republican incumbents in Arkansas, California, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania already in their sights.

But the DCCC clearly doesn’t have much hope of making progress in Florida. The DCCC put Gwen Graham in the spotlight, naming her to the “red to blue” list of Democratic candidates who have the best chances of knocking off Republicans.

Graham was the only candidate in Florida the DCCC was playing up on Monday. Like Southerland, Republicans Dan Webster and Vern Buchanan were targeted by the Democrats back in 2012. Webster eeked out a narrow win over Val Demings while Buchanan easily handled Keith Fitzgerald.

It’s telling that neither Webster nor Buchanan is currently being targeted by the DCCC. Both of those Republicans appear early favorites for November.

Demings probably represented the Democrats’ best hope of taking down Webster. She kicked around running again against Webster but ultimately opted to run for Orange County mayor. That left Webster with a far weaker field of opponents. It’s hard to imagine the likes of Bill Ferree, Michael McKenna and Shayan Modarres beating Webster who has been winning elections in Central Florida for decades.

The DCCC also isn’t showing much love for either of Buchanan’s Democratic opponents. Henry Lawrence might have played 13 years in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders, playing in three Super Bowls and two Pro Bowls, but the DCCC isn’t ready to promote him to the political big leagues yet. Nor is the DCCC ready to call up Mitch Mallet despite his service on the Democratic State Committee.

The DCCC’s rankings also don’t bode well for some of the party’s congressional hopefuls across Florida. Alan Cohn has an interesting background as a TV reporter but he’ll need help to be competitive against Dennis Ross, and the DCCC isn’t particularly bullish on his chances. Wes Neuman has an impressive background and is a policy wonk but he has serious ground to make up if he wants to beat John Mica.

Other races look even less competitive. Bill Posey will easily handle either Gabriel Rothblatt or Corry Westbrook and Rich Nugent isn’t losing sleep over Dave Konner’s challenge. Tom Rooney will beat Will Bronson -- again. Two Democrats have already lined up to challenge Ted Yoho but he won’t have much problem with either Aquasia Johnson McDowell or Marihelen Wheeler. The same holds true of the two Democrats -- David Cox and Andrew Scott -- looking to beat Ron DeSantis. Jeff Miller’s beaten Jim Bryan before and will easily do it again come November. Whoever wins the Republican primary to replace Trey Radel will take on Democrat April Freeman in the general election.

Despite the Fair District amendments, there simply aren’t many competitive congressional races in Florida, as the DCCC’s announcement on Monday makes clear. Democrats have only two promising chances to pick up congressional seats in Florida: Graham against Southerland and Alex Sink against David Jolly in next week’s special election. There won’t be many other opportunties in Florida to cut into the Republican majority -- and the DCCC clearly knows it.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Comments (20)

P:atricia Lavins
10:56PM APR 1ST 2014
Corry "Fraudster" Westbrook has been under investigation for voter fraud for over six months by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. She illegally obtained a Florida Voter Registration Card in early 2013 by fraudulently using her parents' Vero Beach address. She was at that time and still today a legal resident of Washington, D. C.

The lead investigator, Jay Schultz, of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has said that evidence supports charging her with multiple felonies. His phone number: is 407-289-9021.
Steven Zeledon, Sr.
1:42PM MAR 5TH 2014
It would seem as though the DCCC's idea of how they can help Florida voters get out from under the slime of Scott's Republicans is to douse them with ice cold pessimistic fatalism !
Thanks, DCCC, stop asking for money, all my contributions are going to Dave KOLLER, who will fight and win District 11.
Steven Zeledon, Sr.
1:42PM MAR 5TH 2014
It would seem as though the DCCC's idea of how they can help Florida voters get out from under the slime of Scott's Republicans is to douse them with ice cold pessimistic fatalism !
Thanks, DCCC, stop asking for money, all my contributions are going to Dave KOLLER, who will fight and win District 11.
Walt Huston
11:48AM MAR 5TH 2014
...and there lies the real problem.
The DCCC telling thousands and thousands of Florida Democrat Voters... "your candidate isn't viable; don't even bother going to the polls".
Vision of what's going on in the trenches is often fuzzy from atop a high horse. Perhaps the DCCC should stop "picking" candidates they feel can win and rather start "promoting" more candidates to a WIN.
It's the year of the embarrassed republican voter. People that are sick of their votes for the last decade being wasted by republican winners doing nothing for them... while touting nothing but hatred, greed, corporate gluttony, and religious fanaticism.
The DCCC is apparently blind to the fact that elections are won by WHO comes to the polls....and WHO gets voted for...NOT who is registered to which party. The DCCC's lake of faith in the American voter and their ability to cross party lines to make a voting choice in their own interest is why the DCCC should just stfu about who can and can't win....and start doing their job to get Democrats elected! (and their track record ain't so good lately)
Pat Lavins
10:48AM MAR 5TH 2014
Corry "Fraudster" Westbrook is doing everthing possible to ensure that Bill "Birther" Posey wins re-election in a record landslide. In one of the first acts in her campaign in 2013 she fraudulently obtained a Florida Voter Registration Card by illegally using her parents' Vero Beach address. As a legal resident of Washington, D. C., she violated Florida law and is now awaiting severe criminal and civic penalties for her fraud.
Susan Seidler
1:39AM MAR 5TH 2014
I think that you are unaware of how well Corry Westbrook's Campaign is progressing. Don't count your chickens before they hatch. You may be in for a surprise
Pat Lavins
10:44AM MAR 5TH 2014
There is ZERO evidence that Corry "Fraudster" Westbrook is doing well. To make such a claims means ignoring the reality thst she is under investigation for fraud and will have to face severe criminal penalties for attempting to be the first legal resident of Washington, D. C. to get her name on a Florida ballot.
Ted Guy
7:29PM MAR 4TH 2014
I just hope our wonderful Dem. Congressman Patrick Murphy retains his seat in the 18th District.
Judy Smith
2:33PM MAR 4TH 2014
The journalist should look again at Corry Westbrook's running against Posey. Westbrook is pro environment and has the experience to back up her pledges to work to clean up the water and environmental issues that have long been "researched with no action". She is also for human rights and that includes women's rights, issues Mr. Posey has done nothing, absolutely nothing, for. Westbrook is a strong contender for this seat and her campaign is nothing to look down upon. Voters are smart and should be reading up on Posey's past votes and what Westbrook brings to the table: fresh ideas and determination to get some much needed legislation passed.
Pat Lavins
11:13AM MAR 5TH 2014
Unfortunately the posting is nothing more than wishful thinking. Corry "Fraudster" Westbrook was never a strong contender because in one of the first acts of her campaign in early 2013 she violated Florida law by fraudulently obtaining a Florida Voter Registration Card by illegally using her parents' Vero Beach address. Since she was a legal resident of Washington, D. C., it is obvious that she deliberately violated Florida law. Not many voters are inclined to waste a vote on anyone who has demonstrated such disdain for the rule of law. The abysmal voting record of Bill "Birther" Posey was known to voters in the 2010 and 2012 elections when he faced a significantly more qualified candidate in Shannon Roberts. There is unfortunately ZERO evidence that Corry "Fraudster" Westbrook has any new ideas. Her illegal actions are not new ideas. Why would any sane voter trust her when she has shown herself to not be trustworthy>
Kathy Cottier
12:42PM MAR 4TH 2014
It is a sad thing when the DCCC starts ruling out their own-shame on them. Nonsense to this!!!! Perhaps it is time to abandon the Democratic Party.
Pat Lavins
11:16AM MAR 5TH 2014
The DCCC has always made calculated assessments of the realistic chances that any Democrat face in any given election. Now is not the time to abandon the Democrat Party. Now is the time to get better candidates.
10:31AM MAR 4TH 2014
According to this article, why bother voting? My take on this article is that it is designed to keep people at home on voting day. Corry Westbrook has a real chance to unseat Bill Posey. Any conservative who plans to vote for Posey needs to immediately stop acting like they give a dang about the lagoon or our economy because he is all talk and no action whatsoever. I hope Corry Westbrook cleans his clock.
Pat Lavins
10:57AM MAR 5TH 2014
Anyone who makes the absurd claim that Corry "Fraudster" Westbrook has a real chance in defeating Bill "Birther" Posey is someone who is not aware of what is going on in the world around them. In early 2013 Bill "Birther" Posey learned that he could potentially face one of the most vulnerable opponents in his life because in early 2013 Corry "Fraudster" Westbrook lied to Republican election officials when she fraudulently obtained a Florida Voter Registration Card by illegally using her parents' Vero Beach address. Since she was a legal resident of Washington, D. C., this was a clear violation of law. The issue of protecting the lagoon is NOT going to gain any votes. Anyone who cares about this issue would automatically vote for a Democrat. The problem that the small contigent of Corry "Fraudster" Westbrook supporters do not understand is that she will probably be in jail on Election Day. The State of Florida is going to be harsh in punishing such a clear violation of Florida law as Corry "Fraudster" Westbrook committed.
Sharon Kolor
10:20AM MAR 4TH 2014
Don't count Corry Westbrook out yet. She is what FL District 8 needs. You have only just begun to know what she can do. Balanced budget, closing tax loopholes for corporations, clean energy initiatives and tax credits, improving infrastructure in FL and the country.
Pat Lavins
11:05AM MAR 5TH 2014
It is long past time to recognize the sad reality and understand that Corry "Fraudster" Westbrook is a carpetbagger who has not lived in FL District 8 in over 12 years. She has only been able to attract a very small handful of voters who support her candidacy. Having a wish list of problems that you want to have solved is not sufficient to win an election when you are challenging an incumbent. There is also the not small matter that she has proven herself to be a person lacking in integrity since in early 2013 she lied to Republican election officials when she fraudulently obtained a Florida Voter Registration Card by illegally using her parents' Vero Beach address. Thus, it is obvious to anyone who understands the issues that Corry "Fraudster" Westbrook in one of her first acts violated Florida law. She is now eligible to receive severe criminal and civil penalities. It is entirely possible now that Corry "Fraudster" Westbrook will be in jail on Election Day.
7:54AM MAR 4TH 2014
I would imagine we all deserve what we get after we've voted! People say that they want things to get better in Florida yet they continue returning the same old politicians to office demonstrating the complete lack of voter ability. If you really want things to go in a different direction voters must make changes. Similar to corporations whose stockholders want changes and they terminate the person at the helm, so it should be with politicians. Instead, we have people in office for longer than many of us have been alive! And, talk about the "golden parachutes" of the corporate world, our national representatives in Washington have it so much better with lifetime healthcare, lifetime salaries, and so on. Small wonder why they spend millions to become elected! Just when will WE the people wise up? Probably when it is too late.
Pat Lavins
11:21AM MAR 5TH 2014
It is time for a reality check. Members of Congress pay for their health care as do all Federal employees. No member of Congress gets a lifetime salary. Those who work at least five years are vested in the Federal retirement system and get petitions based on a formula that averages out earnings, age and years of service. No one goes to Congress to get rich. Those who are millionaires were millionaires before they were even elected.
Todd Klimson
5:21PM APR 18TH 2014
Her husband Jeff Kempic owns a house in DC. They have no entry in the Indian county property database and ZERO entries in the clerk's database. Yes, they are soooooo active in their community. She is a lobbyist for Oceana. Now she wants to be active?
Patricia Lavins
6:33PM AUG 24TH 2014
Everything that you noted is correct. The Florida Division of Elections on May 2nd correctly ruled that she was "not qualified" to be on a Florida ballot. She is still under investigation for voter fraud by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

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