Senate Race Ratings: May 7, 2012


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Beginning today, we will update these ratings every week and will begin House ratings weekly after qualifying. We will also provide a digest each Monday of new happenings in the Senate races across the state.

Based on today’s projections the Democrats would win 14 seats, the Republicans would win 25 and 1 race is a toss up. The only incumbent to be defeated would be Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff who is running in a heavily Democratic district against a sitting Senator Maria Sachs. We however, refer to Bogdanoff as the incumbent in this race because a much larger percentage of her old Senate district is in the new SD-34.

In that particular race, prominent Republicans in Palm Beach County have begun raising money for Sachs. So Bogdanoff is at a disadvantage in the district being both a Republican and from Broward County in a seat clearly designed following a redraw to elect a resident of Palm Beach County. Nonetheless, Bogdanoff is a tough candidate to run again and on the stump she promises to be much livelier and generate more excitement than Sachs.

The GOP held 26 Senate seats between 2002 and 2010 and using the power of incumbency to their full advantage, the Senate Republican leadership has created “fair districts” as deemed by the court that will give the majority party a similar majority to the most gerrymandered plan in history. Given the stagnant ion of growth in coastal Broward & Palm Beach counties through the last ten years, keeping Bogdanoff out of very Democratic territory west of US 1 was always going t0 be difficult. But otherwise as these ratings demonstrate, the Republicans have manipulated seats in growing Democratic areas to advantage their own incumbents and even protect open seats held by term limited Republicans.

Despite the analysis that the GOP will dominate this set of Senate elections, much of that owes itself to the continued inability of Florida Democrats to recruit good candidates and run disciplined campaigns for those candidates. Thus, in this initial rating we admit to a Republican bias when determining likely outcomes of elections. The candidates and campaigns begin to take shape, expect frequent movement on this board.

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43 thoughts on “Senate Race Ratings: May 7, 2012

  1. Pingback: Sunburn: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics | Saint Petersblog

  2. So while Obama either wins the state or gains at least 48%, we will win at most 15 of 40 State Senate elections? At what point does the FDP itself become accountable for such bad performances and obvious ticket splitting? It’s been like 16 years of this same scenario!!!!

  3. When the FDP so far has only fielded candidates in 17 of the 40 races, that in itself should explain the ineptitude of the state party. The RPOF, on the other hand, has candidates in 29 of the 40 races. On the House side, it’s just as bad, with only 76 of the 120 seats having DEMs filed so far, whereas that are 102 of the 120 races with GOP candidates.

  4. It’s also a testament to the GOPs packing of districts, despite the findings of the state Supreme Court. When 11 of the 40 new districts went more than 60/40 for Obama, but only 4 districts were 60/40 McCain, it’s easy to see how they accomplished this. However, as I stated earlier, until the FDP stop “giving” seats to the GOP by letting them go unchallenged, they will always be a big minority.

  5. I agree. This is a disgraceful. We deliberately throw races and do not force the Republicans to spend money in marginal seats protecting their incumbents and then they can poor their already superior resources into any marginal seat. I assume we will eventually have 22-23 candidates statewide meaning we are automatically conceding almost HALF THE CHAMBER to them. The FDP and Senate Victory is a disgrace.

  6. Very good point but the packing/redistricting is only so much of an excuse. Even with the packing of D districts if we ran decent candidates in the last ten years we could have picked up a few seats here and there where the GOP performance number is somewhere in the neighborhood of 51-53%. We had one pickup the entire decade, that being Justice’s win over Berfield in 2006 but then we gave that seat right back the next time it was up. Yet the GOP hold seats in the Tampa Bay area and in other parts of the state that are close to 50-50. We always have a major dropoff from the performance of our top of the ticket to our Senate candidates. Sure these are seats the GOP is winning and they have packed the D districts but our performance in GOP leaning seats is awful. We will produce dud candidates time and time again.

  7. Couldn’t agree more Lori. Right now in the Senate there are 4 districts (8, 10, 20 and 28) where there is no declared DEM candidate that Obama was within a couple of percentage points. Even worse, in 5 more districts (3, 9, 12, 22 and 36) where there is no DEM candidate, Obama actually won these districts by 4 percentage points or more. In a presidential election year it’s embarrasing not to field candidates in these districts.

    In the House, almost as bad 6 districts (25, 28, 42, 59, 60, 105) where Obama was within 2 percentage points and 3 (72, 83, 89) where he won by 4 percentage points or more and there is no declared DEM candidate.

    (I should note that candidates and districts are based upon where they are currently filed…some candidates, in particular Democrats it seems, haven’t updated their district to correspond to the new district numbers.)

  8. The 34th is only slightly less D than the new 25th but we have a fabulous candidate in 25. Joe Abruzzo is a moderate who can appeal to Republicans and will be safe. That is why that is more likely D than the 34th with the strong Bogdanoff and the weaker Sachs. I think Sachs will have a tough race there. If she ran in a primary against the popular Abruzzo she would have lost badly.

  9. Agree 100% Ann. The House District you reference in North Palm Beach (83) was actually won also by Alex Sink but we have consistently failed in any attempt to win that district through the years mostly due to shoddy candidate recruitment.

    Senate District 22 in St Petersburg is an obvious example of what you are talking about. No current D candidate, and as usual we face the prospect of our top of the ticket running 7-12 points ahead of a dud legislative candidate in a swing district. It is an all too familiar pattern in this state.

  10. SACHS might still jump into the race against ABRUZZO. The real thing is that Abruzzo, SACHS and ARONBERG are all getting money from the head of the birther movement. YOU are going to see corruption county break apart……check you desk you might find Wexler or Deutch there hiding. One big happy family that is about to divide.

    SACHS is safe because of Peter. GREAT JOB Peter!

  11. C’mon Marty!!!!! Sachs has no chance of running against Abruzzo. The leadership won’t allow it. After all her husband has been doing dirty dealing on the hospital district that puts your fallacy conspiracy about honest men like Wexler & Deutch to shame. Abruzzo has been the one helping the people and the county to expose what is going on. Peter is a Republican by the way and Sachs herself is a Bush donor. Just thought you’d like to know that before you go all in with her.

  12. Who are you kidding. In this county it does not matter who you give money to or where you take it. Abruzzo exposes himself if anything and no someone. (We know the stories)

    Abruzzo, Sach, Deutch and Wexler… And Aaronson all work together. Wexler honest?
    That guy is a biggest joke and he is taking Douche down with him. Love always from Weiss Handler and Harry Sargeant.

    These goons are low class and it will all come out. Abruzzo is not a moderate. I hope Sachs or Merchant runs. Most will vote for either rather than some kid with lots of money but shit for brains.

  13. Abruzzo is far from fabulous. Voted for guns, vouchers and against the environment.

  14. Abruzzo is a moderate. Not liberal enough for my liking. Weiss, Handler, Sachs and Sax all corrupt. Deutch is a dueche and Wexler a crook. Sharon Merchant??????? LOL. No chance. The seat won’t elect a Republican anyhow which is why Benaquisto is running on the other coast. But even if it would Merchant would never win. She is incredibly weak.

  15. If they can elect Abruzzo, Sachs or Aaronson let alone Wexler as an official for a higher office than dog catcher…merchant has a chance.

    Any woman does. I liked Deutch but now he is just a tool. Sachs is better than Abruzzo. Dems are going to loose anyway because of the way “the leaders” are screwed things up between the tag team of Siegal and Fladel.

    Let’s just wait for Scott…

  16. Merchant has no chance. That seat is 60% Democrat and she had a bad voting record when she was in the legislature and has lost THREE times since then. Abruzzo is not bad. He is pretty liberal on issues not related to guns.

    The Dems have been losing for years, where have you been? Read Ann’s posts above and understand since 1998 we have consistently been fielding fewer and fewer candidates for the legislature who are any good. You actually have to field 25 Senate candidates to try and win 20 seats. We don’t even try. Senate and House victory? That is a total oxymoron. Our party led by the FDP leadership has a total defeatist mentality. We let lobbyists fund our campaigns and those lobbyists are all in bed with the Republicans and are committed to keeping a permanent GOP majority! I am sure Double K and Trotter will be moving more and more seats into the “Safe R” column here until it reaches like 23-24 even in seats Obama will run well in. We are pathetic.

  17. Abruzzo is NOT liberal. The Ds suck because those who screw up the state. You know morning star’s bosses. I think we are going to see a HUGE break. These people are all turning on each other. From Pafford to Abruzzo to Rader to Wexler. Watch the shit fly! We love you Dave!!!!

  18. Abruzzo is one of the 5-7 most liberal house members on economic issues which is what people vote based on more than anything else. Check out his voting record. He supports state funding of just about everything. The labor unions love him. He is pro worker. Sure he is more conservative on guns, etc but those are emotional issues but not what drives turnout or the vote. It drives headlines but not the vote.

    Do you think Aaronson will get indicted? I hope so. When he is gone PBC will produce better statewide numbers for the Dems.

  19. We routinely fail to find viable, worthwhile candidates in the I-4 corridor yet we have kept the same consultants and operatives for years. Those captaining the titanic have been rewarded with jobs for life and countless consulting gigs from sitting Democrats. Many of them have become comfortable socializing with the Republicans and even getting lobbying and favors from them. They are personally happy in the minority and have no problem conceding seats to their friends. T Then they whine about issues they claim to care about them when everything goes bad. But elections actually have consequences and they tend to forget that. They are always like “I like this Republican or that one isn’t so bad.” Do you think the Republicans were like that with Dems when they were in the minority? Even potential party switchers who voted with them all the time they would target!

    This group also takes credit for Obama’s success in the state when they had zero to do with it. Obama won Florida partly because he built his own infrastructure sidestepping the party.

    They are what ails us. Until we dump our trash we will continue to lose.

  20. You can socialize with Republicans…you just can’t become them. You are correct MRT and Abruzzo is not liberal overall. He is awful on many issues. You are going to say that guns, choice, immigration, drug testing does not drive the vote. Lori are you Berman? Seriously get your head out of your ass and wake up. Aaronson is fine. He is too old to get in trouble. The young ones are going to take the fall.

  21. Whomever this person is has an alliance with Laxer and a hard on for Abruzzo. Drug testing has never been an election issue that turns out voters. Find me one anti-choice vote by Abruzzo. Immigration? What are you talking about?

    These activists attacking Abruzzo and talking up Laxer have no idea about his record nor her professionalism or lack of professional behavior. They believe her mindless posts about secondary issues on her Facebook page and then turn around and spew the same nonsense here on a public forum. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but not entitled to make up facts. Oh and you should get to know your potential candidate a little better. She’s the good Democrat who wants to bomb Iran.

    I am so sick of these threads being hijacked by this nonsense.

    Back on topic please.

  22. In addition, look at some of his contributors last quarter. I’m just sayin’….

  23. Morning Star,
    Did Laxer say she is running? I think you are confused. I have not heard her say at all that she running but we would love her to. Why are you so concerned about her? I guess we can’t ask you to try to talk to her about getting her to run huh? lol Wendi you have never changed over the years.

    Laxer I never met but I know your former boss and your new one. He played with my boss. Joe is ok but I think you are little a head of yourself.

    Bomb Iran? It is clear that people like Laxer and it is very clear who you work for. Tell Bobby I say hi and Ted too.

  24. Back on topic. The party sucks and I am staying home. I am voting only for Obama. Wexler and his staff (proof above) has screwed this party. Vote everyone out!

  25. I agree the party has not done much with candidates. As for Deutch’s staffer she is probably not voting for Obama. She turned Republican after the 2008 election that is what Wendi told me. Who knows? Who cares? I think we just need to change things. Wendi knows everything she is so fantastic and so cool. Who is close to Laxer to see if Wendi is right? Wendi is wise and I am so happy that we have such a wonderful delegation now. Thank goodness for heros like Deutch, Wendi and Aaronson. The are the A team! And Wexler….

  26. I think because of the redistricting, lack of recruitment and integrity we do have a problem in this state. That is why we are going to be stuck for another decade with a Republican controlled legislature. If anyone is in their right mind they dont run now because the numbers are going to be way against us. Part of the reason why so many Ds vote with the Rs is because they want money and some kind of committee asssignment. Look at the people we have…who are we kidding. It’s either an R in D name only or Ds that are short on brains but big on mouths.

  27. The bottom line is this. We are not recruiting good candidates and are not making any effort to really fight to regain the Legislature. We are not developing local leaders or the types of networks needed to run successful locally based campaigns (which legislative races are) in areas outside south Florida. We have way too many “experts” from Tallahassee who know ABSOLUTELY ZILCH about the I-4 corridor and the demographic changes. Too many of our “Experts” based in the capital are either from rural north Florida or have migrated from south Florida or central Florida so long ago when the Democrats controlled the state that they have no idea what anything south of Lake City looks like anymore. These consultants have DESTROYED the Florida Democratic Party and have gained an incredible amount of malign influence over our elected who with great naivety see them as geniuses in this era of term limits. We then get nonsense like non message oriented campaigns and ideas about turning out voters west of the Suwanee River, all nonsense and all totally irrelevant to winning votes where the people actually live in south and central Florida.

    Regarding the above comment that these people may be “throwing” elections out of friendship with Republicans, I do not think they are consciously throwing elections but they are products of their environment and they live in a non metropolitan/cosmopolitan setting in Tallahassee, surrounded by conservative lobbyists who support Republicans and left wing pressure groups that cannot raise money and are considered “crazies” in Tallahassee although those groups while further to the left than the party should be represent more of public opinion in the rest of the state than the lobbyists our leaders pal around with. Tallahassee is a cesspool and our party is a Tallahassee party run and manipulated by lobbyists. Thank god for Obama. I backed Hillary and still don’t love Obama but he got new people excited and involved and give us our first real hope of taking this party back to the people.

  28. Laxer has been floated for weeks now as a possible candidate. She cannot possibly run a winning race.

    She is leading on the great activists. She is motivated by vengeance against Obama backers because she backed Clinton. She was given the opportunity to run in the past but did not and we had to find another candidate. Ever wonder why Deutch kept the rest of his staff but not her? Open your eyes people. We don’t want to be negative and nasty especially when we have Romney and Bogdanoff to beat, but Laxer is someone who has a dangerous sense of entitlement. Just because she worked for a Senator does not mean she should automatically get that senators seat. Most staff don’t replace their bosses and those that do have to work for it. She acts as if she is owed the seat. I personally don’t mind Laxer. She is a smart cookie, a good thinker, a young prospect. But she has shown no patience, or humility since she left Deutch’s office, and has not so coincidentally not kept a job for more than a few months at a time since leaving Deutch’s office,

    She is not a Republican as indicated above but a Democrat who can be rehabilitated and worked with but needs to accept Abruzzo as the Senator and start working for the candidates we support locally not for the others like backing Gelber over Aronberg and Meek over Greene, working against our local interests. Publicly endorsing Abruzzo would be a good start for her. I think I will call Tara and ask he to do that and end this damaging speculation.

  29. Pingback: Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Political Hurricane » Florida Progressive Coalition Blog -

  30. Again whoever morning star is obviously is twisted. Gelber beat Aronberg. Laxer worked for Obama during the general with Tilson at Coco Woods or walk. Laxer left working for Deutch. I worked with her at the job after she left working for Deutch. I actually spoke to both Deutch and Wendi about her running. Whoever you are, you are wrong. Meek won too. Your rational makes no sense since Clinton works with Obama. Morning Star get over yourself because it seems as you are the one who is scared of Laxer and keep bringing her up. We all know why she left Deutch and so does Deutch.

  31. Enough with Morning Star,

    As we move forward I think we need to just get out the vote. Everything you put seems to be the opposite of those who the public support. Anyway I think we should push Charlie to run in 2014 and make sure Lois and Patrick get elected. It is going to be hard for them both. Let’s get moving people.

  32. HOLD UP PEOPLE. This Morning Person is telling us that Maria can’t be Joe because he is Republican, trashing Laxer, pushing Green and they are same damn people that are helping Bogdanoff. Seriously? Burt Aaronson get off the computer! Go vote for Obama and screw the rest.

  33. Morning Star Laxer was recruited to run for 90 when Kelly was running. She said no. They all were backing Irv for some deal..who I love. The guy that Deutch ran against in 2006. I hope Kelly will run again. She should not have had them run her out of her own seat. She wants nothing to do with Deutch now. Good for her.

    Please can you not keep talking about her or any people that you have a personal problem with. Handle this off line. You sound like a nutjob otherwise.

    Going back to the topic what do you think is the best why we can recruit someone to beat Hager, Moratis and do you think we have a shot against Bogdanoff? I think we do have to worrying abou the I-4 area if we are going to win.

    If we can’t even get an even shake at this in the House or the Senate I think it is time to do something different. I think the OFA campaign is so smart from being seperate from the local and state party like they were in 2008. The party is nuts but how do we recreate what we need in this state? So many of us are suffering because of this state. When I was up in Tally a few months ago is was awful to see how little is done and how most of the Ds do not stand up. I understand that they have little power but they need to at least fake it right? I hope Randolph because the new county chair and Smith runs for Governor.
    It seems that the insurance companies runs this place. I was so happy when Maria led the charge in the Senate with preventing the prisons from being privatized. Maria should really run in the Abruzzo seat. I am worried about her against Bogdanoff. I think we have to revamp the system but for now we need to vote.

  34. At least Montford seat is safe or close to it. This reinforces outside of minority seats we cannot win in Central Florida.

  35. The state party has continued to fall deeper and deeper into the hole of being a permanent minority with no real commitment nor real memory of a time when things were different. The party being based in and around Tallahassee and being run by a combination of lobbyists and south Florida liberals who never face competitive two party elections in their own home areas has created this cohabitation of those who benefit from us being in a minority and those who have all the power back home and do not have to worry about picking up seats in other parts of the state because they can control the caucus more easily with regional, like minded members. All of this equals permanent and constant losses.

  36. I’m not 100% sure about Central Florida. Senate Districts 10 and 15 could swing with good Democratic candidates in good Democratic years. But who knows if that is even possible in the next 10 years.

    Montford is an example of what I would call a “good Democrat” in North Florida. Honestly, I would have liked to see Montford enter the race against Southerland. If Southerland wins reelection, Montford should announce the next day. But this brings me back to my argument about North Florida…basing a statewide election on winning north Florida is extremely flawed. On the other hand, recruiting people like Montford for a district like his is extremely smart.

    That is the reason I have a problem if we get an activist running the state party. Will Montford be ignored by an activist state party because he isn’t exactly in the mold of an ultra-liberal? I think so.

    The north Florida story does have two sides. That is why my last article about north Florida stressed that I was only talking about statewide races. Local races are entirely different.

  37. We had a clear case of what you are talking about here when Brian Miller lost to Domino in 2008 even though Obama carried the district easily. The state party did not come through in that race.

  38. BM was a joke…..who are you kidding? He only received support because he got an endorsement from Wexler and raised a shit load of money. He had no ground game and was cocky as hell. The party had nothing to do with it. It was the candidate. Rick Ford did better with less money in the previous election.

  39. Look let’s all be honest already what the problem is. Wexler’s cheif of staff who keeps doing these campaigns (while he was the chief of staff) picking these people that pay him the most. Is this even legal? Now Deutch jumps in to endorse in a race that is a minority seat. Does he not know what the Voter’s Rights Act is? This is the problem.Get them all out. Aronberg….State Attorney? Corruption county has extended to the state.

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