Lenny Curry: 'Nancy Pelosi Poison' Strategy Worked in South Carolina, It Can Work in Florida
Around the State
Lenny Curry, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), believes there are lessons in Mark Sanford’s victory in a special congressional election held in South Carolina on Tuesday -- namely, that voters around the nation don’t want to support Democratic candidates who will end up supporting Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House.
Despite his own sordid personal life and being abandoned by most national Republicans, Sanford won an open congressional seat by a comfortable margin. During most of his campaign, he focused his fire on national Democrats, including Pelosi -- in fact, especially Pelosi. Sanford’s strategy worked and he won a solid victory. Sanford even debated a cardboard cutout of Pelosi at one of his campaign events.
While she has not wielded the gavel since the 2010 election cycle, Pelosi remains unpopular across the nation. A Gallup poll released last month showed the California career politician was upside down with 48 percent of those surveyed viewing her as unfavorable while 31 percent held a favorable view of her.
With Democrats expected to target Republican congressional incumbents in Florida in 2014, namely Steve Southerland, Curry is already trying to remind voters that new Democratic congressmen would support Pelosi for House speaker.
“Weeks ago I started saying these midterm elections for Democrats are all about Pelosi's power grab,” Curry posted on Twitter this week. “It's all about the leadership.”
Curry certainly carried on that train of thought throughout the week. Weighing in on Sanford’s victory, he said he thought it all came down to Pelosi. “It worked because all Democrats’ congressional races are about Pelosi,” Curry insisted.
The RPOF chairman clearly is looking to bring that message to Florida for the 2014 election cycle. This week, former Gov. Charlie Crist announced that he would hold a fundraising event for Democratic congressional candidate Gwen Graham, daughter of Florida political legend Bob Graham, who is looking to challenge Southerland.
Instead of bashing Crist for leaving the Republicans to run for the U.S. Senate without a party and then jump over to the Democrats, all within the space of two-and-a-half years, Curry focused his efforts on trying to link Graham to Pelosi.
“Charlie Crist is raising money for Nancy Pelosi in Florida,” Curry insisted.
If Democrats are going to pick up the House in 2014, they will have to do well in Florida, where they have two incumbents -- Patrick Murphy and Joe Garcia -- with Republican targets on their backs. While playing defense on those seats, Democrats will have to pick up seats held by Republicans. So far, Democrats are setting their sights on Southerland, while also focusing on U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., and hoping that U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., will retire.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.