Politics

Nancy Pelosi Shouldn't Look to Florida to Flip the House

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: July 22, 2014 3:55 AM
Steve Southerland, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Garcia

Steve Southerland, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Garcia

Nancy Pelosi made it clear when she talked to the media last week that whatever slim chances there are of Democrats flipping the House rest on redistricting in Florida and, even there, the window is closing. 

Despite all pundits belittling her chances to win back the gavel, Pelosi claimed there was a path to win control of the House in November and it rests on Florida where two congressional districts -- those held by Democrat Corrine Brown and Republican Dan Webster -- were ruled unconstitutional. But time is running short. Absentee ballots go out on Tuesday for August’s primaries. Redistricting looks like it will have more of an impact in Florida come 2016.

Looking around Florida, it’s tough to see how Democrats make much in the way of progress to winning back the House. Democrats like their chances against Steve Southerland in North Florida. Gwen Graham has proven a strong fundraiser and she’s hoping state employees come out in full force in and around Tallahassee. But Southerland’s been trying to pin Pelosi to Graham. With her recent comments about how important Florida is to her coming back as speaker, Pelosi isn’t exactly helping Graham on that front.

But if Democrats like their chances against Southerland, it’s tough to envision another Republican seat they could pick up in November. Even if Webster’s district changes in the days to come, the Democrats have a weak field of candidates running against him and would be very hard-pressed to defeat him. Nor do their chances look any better elsewhere as Jeff Miller, Ted Yoho, Ron DeSantis, John Mica, Bill Posey, Rich Nugent, Dennis Ross, Vern Buchanan, Tom Rooney and Curt Clawson all start with massive leads over their Democratic challengers. The Democrats didn’t even bother to field candidates against Ander Crenshaw, Gus Bilirakis, David Jolly, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

To their credit, Democrats are certainly in good position to hold most of their current seats. Brown won’t have any problems unless she’s redistricted and even then, like Webster, she’s not exactly facing topnotch opponents. The likes of Alan Grayson, Kathy Castor, Alcee Hastings, Lois Frankel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson should easily run over their Republican opponents. Ted Deutch doesn’t have to worry about a Republican challenger in November.

Republicans had some hope of taking down Patrick Murphy after his narrow win over Allen West last year. But Murphy has been a hard worker and a good fundraiser. West and other top Republicans stayed out of the race, leaving a far weaker field than anyone could have expected. After the second quarter fundraising numbers came out last week, national pundits lowered the GOP’s chances of picking this seat up. Unless something drastic happens in the coming weeks, Murphy appears headed back to Washington with surprising ease.

Republicans can at least feel better about their chances of beating Joe Garcia. Carlos Curbelo should easily handle his primary opponents next month, paving the way for a competitive general election contest. Garcia’s made some gaffes, to be sure, but he’s been a strong fundraiser and has the edge in cash, a major factor in the expensive South Florida markets.

Increasingly it appears Democrats have only one viable Florida target to flip in Southerland’s seat while the GOP has a realistic chance of beating Garcia and other Democrat incumbents should stay safe. Pelosi and the Democrats need at least another Republican seat or two to be competitive if they are going to have any chance of flipping the House in November. Even if redistricting comes into play, Democrats looking to take the House shouldn’t expect much from Florida. The Sunshine State -- like the rest of the nation -- is primed to keep the House under GOP control.



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

Comments (11)

Joseph H.
11:53AM JUL 25TH 2014
How can anyone vote for Ted Yoho? His views on voting rights, the constitution and everything else are so extreme it's scary. Marihelen Wheeler commented on here and she's absolutely right. Simply because something seems challenging, and winning District 3 as a Democrat would be a challenge, does that mean we shouldn't try? The people of that district deserve a lot more than Ted Yoho.
Marihelen Wheeler
12:44PM JUL 24TH 2014
As a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District of Florida, I would like to offer this thought. If there were none of us willing to run for office, our government would quickly change its precept of "government of and by the people" to a government of one choice only. No one will go to a horse race with only one horse running. If we continue to disparage those of us willing to take on this daunting effort, our system will be severely compromised and we will have given history's greatest democratic experience away. I am running to give District 3 a choice. The people will choose if they decide to show up at the polls and do not allow others to decide for them.
Marihelen Wheeler
12:44PM JUL 24TH 2014
As a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District of Florida, I would like to offer this thought. If there were none of us willing to run for office, our government would quickly change its precept of "government of and by the people" to a government of one choice only. No one will go to a horse race with only one horse running. If we continue to disparage those of us willing to take on this daunting effort, our system will be severely compromised and we will have given history's greatest democratic experience away. I am running to give District 3 a choice. The people will choose if they decide to show up at the polls and do not allow others to decide for them.
The Swampfox
10:01AM JUL 24TH 2014
Pelosi is a loon, so bad that even the left has to hang their heads in shame when she speaks. As one of the "tin foil hat" wearing members of congress along with Florida's Alan Grayson, Debbie Wasserman "Schultz" and Nevada's Harry Reid. This cadre of lunatics are essentially safe in their seats therefore, they truly expound the "REAL" agenda of the democratic party in Washington. They are known to make some of the dumbest comments ever made in front of a camera and so un-American that anyone with half a brain wonders "how was this person ever elected to serve in congress?" As John Mellencamp said in one of his famed songs. "The simple minded and the uninformed can be easily led astray." And those who cannot connect the dots hey, look the other way." It's what the democratic party thrives on. Keeping their base constituency in the mushroom principle.
Paula
3:46PM JUL 22ND 2014
Who in their right mind votes for alan grayson/////!!!
Nick Christopoulos
7:38PM JUL 23RD 2014
i was thinking the same thing
Ralph Blake
7:45PM JUL 22ND 2014
Nobody!!
Daniel
1:15PM JUL 22ND 2014
Exactly what can state Democrats do for their constituents since Florida's legislature is wrapped up as Republican? Just asking for input. How much more would a Republican do for all of the Democrat meccas like Broward County? Look how many years Republicans have been in complete control, and there ha never been the prospect of Democrat control at all. What pork do Democrats take to their constituents ? All talk and rhetoric ? Promises to get the crumbs? Well, those constituents are getting SOMETHING !!!! Or they would not keep voting for the Democrats.
Fire
10:47AM JUL 22ND 2014
Nancy Pelosi stay out of Florida you flip out louse.
Duane Overholt
10:03AM JUL 22ND 2014
How can anyone vote for Vern Buchanan after what he was and is continued to be accused of and proven to be guilty of by consumers, voters, former employees, partners, IRS and many others.

Have the voters in his district lost all sense of honesty and truth.

Duane Overholt Consumer Advocate
MILINDA DHAMMIKA RATNASURIYA
6:38AM JUL 22ND 2014
VERY INFORMATIVE ARTICLE !!! THANK YOU FOLKS !!!

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