For the eighth consecutive election cycle, Florida’s Democrats are leaving some obvious takeover opportunities on the table, allowing Republicans to run unopposed in marginal districts. While the Democrats continue to make excuses, the Republicans continue to maintain a super-majority in the Florida Legislature. Below is a list of potential Democratic seats where no D qualified as of this morning.
Several districts were filled with Democratic candidates within the last week, including four House and one Senate district carried by Obama in 2008. We give the FDP credit for filing these seats although in several cases we have seen local activists and political operatives more responsible for the recruitment of candidates than the party itself. Still, an opportunity to force the GOP to defend more seats and pick up others has been lost, yet again.
By contrast, the GOP has a qualified candidate in every single district where John McCain received over 45% of the two-party vote.
Since the close of candidate qualifying, Florida’s Democratic leaders have gone into their usual spin mode, making excuses. “We didn’t lose a bunch of districts overnight and we’re not going to win a bunch of districts overnight,” said Christian Ulvert, a political consultant working with the state party on House races.
But this simply isn’t true. The facts as we have pointed out previously on this website is that in just three election cycles (1994, 1996 and 1998) the Democrats fell from 71 House seats to 45.
Another excuse generated in the last 24 hours by Democrats is that redistricting created huge disadvantages for the Democrats. But in fact it can be argued the GOP did not take full advantage of the 2002 partisan gerrymander in the House. They were able to manipulate Senate seats far more effectively, where they went from 25 to 28 seats over the decade. Entering the 2002 partisan gerrymander the GOP held 77 seats on a map drawn by Democrats. A decade later they hold 81, on a map drawn by Republicans. A net gain of four seats over five cycles with a map you’ve drawn isn’t a great return. True much of their redistricting was about protecting Republicans that were in Dem drawn seats designed to elect Dems, but the fact is the GOP won the VAST MAJORITY of their new seats under a map the Democrats drew.
With candidate qualifying now closed, we have decided to publish this list. We’ll update this list if any of the below districts are in fact filled with qualified candidates, who appear on the DOS website.
List below the jump, updated with locations.
Districts won by Obama which lack a Democratic candidate
HD-36 (New Port Richey)
HD-83 (Port St Lucie)
SD-22 (St Petersburg)
(Hat tip to TPH reader Ann who in the comments mentioned that no Democrat had qualified in this district, where both Obama and Sink won.)
Districts where Obama received over 45% of two-party vote and lack a Democratic candidate
HD-25 (Daytona Beach)
HD-28 (Seminole County)
HD-32 (Lake County)
HD-38 (Wesley Chapel)
HD-75 (Port Charlotte)
HD-78 (Fort Myers)
HD-79 (Lehigh Acres)