Democrats Prove That GOP Vulnerable In Florida Special Election

Democrats Prove That GOP Vulnerable In Florida Special Election

The special election in Florida sets the stage for the 2014 midterms, but contrary to the GOP rhetoric, the results indicate problems for Republicans. – From WFLA’s debate coverage

The victory of David Jolly in Florida’s 13th Congressional District’s special election has right-wing pundits celebrating, claiming that it was a sign that the Democrats are in trouble for the midterm elections. But, once you peel away the veneer of GOP rhetoric, the actual results paint a different picture – one which does not look so good for Republicans going into the midterms.

History of Florida’s 13th.

Florida’s 13th Congressional District is a fairly new one. Its current borders were only drawn up in 2012. If you check the former borders, the new district was carved out of two Republican districts. Both the 10th and 9th districts were solidly Republican, with the 10th not having held a Democratic representative since Johnson was in the White House and the 9th not having held one since the Reagan. Even the old 13th had not had a Democratic congressman in decades. In short, this was a safe Republican district by any measurement.

With 9th’s previous election 71-28% spread in the last midterm election and the 10th’s 66% to 34%, this special election should have been a walk in the park for Congressman-elect Jolly. This election, however, the Republican candidate, David Jolly won by only 2% of the votes, 48% compared to Alex Sink’s 46%, with the Libertarian candidate Lucas Overby pulling in 5% of the votes. This is not a good start for the 2014 election season for the Republicans.

Florida’s 13th A Warning For The GOP.

David Jolly barely etched out a victory in a safe district. This should be a warning sign, not celebration, for the GOP. But instead, we find blog posts and news reports calling this a bellweather, a sign of how the November elections are going to turn out. They are claiming that this special election indicates a strong upper hand for the GOP. The reality could be nothing further from the truth.

The amount of money spent on a district which is up for election again in a few months is staggering, over $9 million in outside advertising, mainly helping the Republican candidate. Add to it the millions spent by the candidates themselves (again, with David Jolly being the bigger spender), this is an incredibly expensive race.

Yet, despite being a safe seat, and having outspent his opponent, David Jolly only barely squeaked out a victory with 2% of the votes.

Democratic Strategy For Victory Found In 13th Election Results.

The key here is that despite spending less, the Democrats kept the Republicans fighting in this district, and nearly carried it. They turned a safe district into a competitive one. And there are signs that the Democratic Party is planning on doing the same with dozens of other races nationwide, and have selected other ‘safe’ districts to target. They will not win all of them, but by doing the fight, they are forcing the GOP to fight where they had previously felt safe. It is a strategy designed to hurt them in the pocketbooks.

Simply put, the Democratic party has been pooling resources, and has been better at raising the needed funds while holding a far larger credit line. It is clear that the Democratic Party is set up for a very strong fight in the coming election, far better than their GOP competition. And the dark money, which has been the GOP’s secret weapon since Citizens United has become a bullseye for the Democratic leadership to target. By turning the Republican backers, such as the Koch Brothers, into a targets, it changes the entire nature of the election.

And then there is the spoiler factor as presented by the Libertarian candidate, Lucas Overby. With the growing strength of 3rd parties over the past few years, paired with the strong socialist revival, 2014 is anyone’s race.