Debbie Wasserman Schultz ranks as one of the biggest losers of the 2014 election cycle. While she had no problem defeating Republican Joe Kaufman last week, as chairwoman of the DNC, Wasserman Schultz is tarnished by her partys loss of the Senate and gubernatorial defeats across the country.
Wasserman Schultz should have bowed out from the DNC post after the 2012 elections. At least then she could have gone out on a high note with Barack Obama winning a second term. Instead, she stayed too long and made some major missteps and gaffes in the process. Already, theres talk about who will replace her and Bob Beckel said on The Five" on Fox News that he had been asked to lead the DNC.
In the final days of the election, Wasserman Schultz tried to keep Democrats morale in place. She repeatedly offered unrealistically optimistic predictions, insisting the Democrats would keep the Senate and Obama was an asset for the party even as he spent most of the campaign hunkered down in the White House.
The question for Wasserman Schultz is where does she go now. Shes expected to leave the DNC and nobody seems to be begging for her to stay on after the election losses. There has been some speculation that she could run for the Senate in 2016 if Marco Rubio runs for president or in 2018 if Bill Nelson steps down.
But Wasserman Schultz has nothing in the way of coattails. She learned that last week as candidates she campaigned for in her South Florida home base, like Charlie Crist and Joe Garcia, went down to defeat. Wasserman Schultz is to the left of both Crist and Nelson making a statewide bid very difficult for her to win even with her fundraising prowess.
Thats not to say Wasserman Schultz is spent as a political force. With her ties to Hillary Clinton, Wasserman Schultz could bounce back in 2016 if the Democrats keep the White House. But her chances for statewide office diminished considerably this year.
Wasserman Schultz still has one path to power and its up the congressional leadership ladder. Only 48, Wasserman Schultz is considerably younger than Steny Hoyer who is 75. When Nancy Pelosi gives up leading House Democrats, Wasserman Schultz will be a contender to replace her and, unlike Hoyer, she does have time on her side. In the meantime, Wasserman Schultz should be able to easily keep her congressional seat for the immediate future, even if she ranks as one of the biggest losers of the 2014 elections.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.