Potential Democratic Districts With No Candidate (UPDATED)

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-37 (Zepherhills)

HD-38 (Wesley Chapel)

HD-40 (Lakeland)

HD-44 (Windemere)

HD-60 (Tampa)

HD-64 (Lutz)

HD-75 (Port Charlotte)

HD-78 (Fort Myers)

HD-79 (Lehigh Acres)

HD-103 (Hialeah)

HD-105 (Miami)

—-

SD-28 (Sarasota)

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41 thoughts on “Potential Democratic Districts With No Candidate (UPDATED)

  1. We were able to get Goodman to run versus Hager in a heavily Democratic district. We’re excited and barring some ultra dirty tricks by the Republicans we should win that one fairly easily. Obama got 55% in the district. Sink won it also.

  2. It might be helpful to also list the county/cities/area that are in the districts without candidates. This should be embarassing to state and local Democrat officials!

  3. This is what happens when you have the Democratic Party playing with the Republicans. Just like the Hager seat…..they are going to throw Goodman under the bus.

    Eric Johnson, Mark Alan Siegal and Robert Wexler. Who needs enemies when you have friends like these.

  4. I am just speechless by this list. It is embarrassing. The state and local parties should be humiliated by this. Please update this post to indicate the areas these districts are in. Thanks!

  5. In the Florida House there are 36 districts where a Republican incumbent is unopposed; 12 open districts where a Republican is unopposed. That’s 48 out of the 120 seats that they have already won with no votes cast. Compare that to only 23 House districts where the Republicans didn’t field a candidate, 14 of those with a DEM incumbent.

  6. How can this happen? We in Osceola County found a great candidate to run–Stacy McCland. It wasn’t easy, as people are afraid of the smear machine. Stacy is fearless! The DPF helped with her candidacy because it was only done a few days ago. Are the local DECs or other Dem clubs finding local candidates? I don’t see how the state party can find them for every county, city, or district, but they did help us.

  7. What happened to all those great candidates Morning Star was coming up with last week ? Was Eric too busy losing elections to take on anyone else ?

  8. Pingback: Sunset! A special ‘end of #QualifyingWeek’ edition of Sunburn | Saint Petersblog

  9. I am all for Goodman but I am not sure that district is the easy win that MS seems to claim. Every time we go after these eastern districts we say we will win it and we never do.

    Not having a candidate against Harrell is really a bad thing. She is HORRIBLE. Worse than most Republicans. Thank god she is not in congress now. Her district is very winnable. I spend lots of time up there. More and more Demos every day.

  10. Look the situation is despicable. I respect and understand the difficulties local parties/DEC have but honestly, their is no leadership from the state, no hunger to really turn things around and too much comfort with the current situation.

    This list does not exist for the Republicans. As K points out every single Dem district with a similar performance is being contested. Yet all of these republicans are unopposed ? How does that happen?

    The state party stopped trying years ago.

  11. Even in counties like Broward where we dominate, votes are being left behind and we are not reaching our full potential.

    The DEC is not organizaed and nobody seems determined to do anything about it in our local party. We have allegations of corruption, vote buying and lobbysist peddling influecne within our DEC.

    Uber lobbysists run the thing. Democrats in Broward have become selfish and lazy, lazy, lazy.

  12. Some of these places have had Republican reps as long as I can remember. It’s tough to win areas even with a lot of dems if we have not win there in a long time. You must respect and understand that.

  13. By my final tally, in the Senate, Republicans filed candidates in 37 of the 40 districts; Democrats 30 of 40.

    In the House, Republicans filed candidates in 97 of the 120 districts; Democrats 73 of the 120.

    Until the Florida Democratic Party has a viable program to develop and financially support candidates in all districts, we will be an uber-minority party. Those 57 unopposed Republican House and Senate candidates are going to be able to continue to raise money and send it to the Florida Republican Party to support their other candidates. We need to at least keep them campaigning in their own districts!

  14. This is a big part of my point that I was going to include in my next posting on the subject. When we leave GOP candidates unopposed they are able to send money to RPOF to be spent on their colleagues. I have been given various convoluted explanations through the years by Democratic PArty officials for why we leave so many districts uncontested. Often times instead of admitting they cannot recruit candidates, or left it in the hands of local officials or simply did not try they gave “strategic” reasons. These “strategic reasons” would be amusing if they were not so sad.

  15. We have term limits and seats are open at a minimum every 8 years. This cycle began BEFORE term limits began when the Democrats failed to field viable candidates in Dem leaning open seats or cannibalized House prospects by recruiting candidates for the Senate that left vulnerable house seats open. Those candidates would lose their Senate race and their House seat would flip. Happened several times.

  16. Harrell getting a pass is unconscionable. I know we’ll take credit when the district immediately to the north “flips” but it is a district where Obama got 56% of the vote, one of the districts Weatherford decided to concede thanks to Fair Districts. Yet given our incompetence on so many levels, their is no guarantee a seat meant to flip actually will. We would have try really hard to lose this one though.

    Back to Harrell. Here new district leans Democratic and their is clear Dem trend in the area. Not challenging her in a new district is really unacceptable.

  17. Actually Rick Scott won this district. You may be confusing it with HD-85 the former HD-83 which is represented by Rooney. Sink and Obama carried that district. Both HD-89 (Hager) and HD-93 (Moratis) voted for Obama in 2008 and flipped to Scott in 2010.

  18. Even a write-in candidate would freeze the funds? We have a state senate candidate (Diaz de la Portilla) in Miami who is unopposed, and can now earmark his substantial war chest for his two brothers who are running for state house?

  19. You are wrong bashing the party.

    I am incredibly impressed with some of the young dem candidates that have stepped up to the plate this cycle. I saw an incredibly inspirational young house candidate today at a forum that made the 60 year old opponent look like peanuts. Lord knows we need some good new dems up there. My only regret is that Clemens wont serve full terms in the house and senate, but i’m not complaining!! Dems in 2012! And Rader, wouldn’t hurt you to show up to the DEC meeting once in awhile. Many of us can’t vote for you because we do not live in the district, but we have friends and family.

  20. So much wrong with the logic shown here.
    I work closely with the party but am withholding my name so I do not get flamed on here.
    We have worked very hard to turn the table on the Republicans. But what all of you fail to properly grasp is the institutional advantages the Republicans maintain in legislative races.
    Redistricting in 2002 created a situation where very few races were competitive. We could not pick up many seats. The Republicans have monopolized the money from lobbyists and have strong incumbents who are even backed by Democratic leaning lobbyists and interest groups. This is a situation we cannot control.
    Another thing: You mock the strategy around unopposed elections. But is it worthwhile in districts which Barack Obama may be competitive and Bill Nelson may win to put Democrats in races that are going to be a drag on the ticket? Think about this logically not emotionally. Obama and Nelson are incumbents with the advantage of incumbency. They perform better in districts than our challengers are going to. They will be facing Republican incumbents, well-funded by the Tallahassee lobbyists and the RPOF. Given the continued domination of the Republicans in fundraising and the advantages of incumbency it is unwise to waste resources in districts where we are running to merely make a point and we may undermine the ability of the top of the ticket races to get the votes they need out of these places to succeed statewide.
    We are not retaking the House or Senate anytime soon. This is the reality thanks to the partisan nature of reapportionment even in the Fair Districts era. So these sorts of blogs are really worthless and meaningless. The battle is to re-elect Barack Obama and Bill Nelson and we may actually undermine that by putting a helpless Democrat in a touch race, needing to fund them and taking a chance that ticket splitting may in fact prompt straight Republican party voting.

  21. True, we contemplated doing that but decided ultimately the party deserved the benefit of the doubt until qualifying closed. Perhaps they were working on find candidates in the districts we were concerned about,

  22. So, is our excuse “the Republicans have made it hard for us”? Hold on and let me get a fucking tissue! Really, that is the bullcrap excuse that we are going with? Honestly, you have to be fucking kidding me!!

    I think it is damn funny with all of the excuses that the people are coming up with. First, we hear about the “money” that Republicans have in these races. Maybe it isn’t that Republicans are raising more money, but we are raising less money for the party because we never have any damn candidates to give money to! What the hell is the reason to donate to non-existent candidates!!

    And as far as the unopposed stuff, that is just absolutely stupid! That is like the Yankees saying “We only need a pitcher, a catcher, A-Rod and Jeter on the field, the rest is fine”! The only problem is that we aren’t the Yankees, but the Kansas City Royals!!

    The Florida Democratic Party should ONLY be concerned with state races, like the legislature and constitutional offices. Let OFA get Obama elected. Let DSCC help Nelson. Let DCCC help the Congressional races. When I heard someone at the FDP say that 80% of what the FDP was doing was to help Obama, I kept my anger to myself. What is sad is that they said the rest of their efforts were for the Congressional and Senate races. WE NEED TO CONCENTRATE ON STATE HOUSE AND SENATE RACES NOW!!!!!! But, as we know, we have already lost as 48 seats and not a single vote has been cast yet!!!

    Anyone that has taken a Politics 101 class knows that the goal of a political party is to get their candidates elected, PERIOD! But how in the hell are we going to get Democrats elected when there aren’t any damn candidates running!!!

    For yet another campaign cycle, the Florida Democratic Party has failed! It is time for a total cleaning of Tallahassee. We really need to start that cleaning on November 9th!!!!

  23. Redistricting in 2002 created a situation where very few races were competitive. We could not pick up many seats.

    While this is true we still had 12-15 competitive seats and took passes on the majority of them all decade long. I can relate personal experiences to this which I will later.

    The Republicans have monopolized the money from lobbyists and have strong incumbents who are even backed by Democratic leaning lobbyists and interest groups. This is a situation we cannot control.

    What about when the seats are open? Why aren’t we recruiting for possible open seats well in advance like the GOP does??????

    They perform better in districts than our challengers are going to. They will be facing Republican incumbents, well-funded by the Tallahassee lobbyists and the RPOF. Given the continued domination of the Republicans in fundraising and the advantages of incumbency it is unwise to waste resources in districts where we are running to merely make a point and we may undermine the ability of the top of the ticket races to get the votes they need out of these places to succeed statewide.

    This is so laughable and totally without logic I am at a loss to give an intelligent response.

    I calculated last week that the Democrats could win 69 House districts under the current map and at a minimum should have between 53-55. While redistricting was partisan on the Senate side and could have been fairer on the House side if we eliminated some of the packed minority districts that’s still pretty fair, when you consider Democrats tend to be concentrated into smaller areas than the Republicans. A truly fair map would give the GOP a 57-53 advantage with 10 toss up seats. While we are not quite there with this current map, we are much closer to that than what you and the party describe. We should not be coming back to session in 2013 with less than 50 seats in the House based on the current map under any electoral circumstance except maybe a double digit Romney Florida win. Yet, we almost certainly will come back with only 42-47 seats. How is that acceptable?

    The battle is to re-elect Barack Obama and Bill Nelson and we may actually undermine that by putting a helpless Democrat in a touch race, needing to fund them and taking a chance that ticket splitting may in fact prompt straight Republican party voting.

    I have heard this one before from a party official and I laughed in her face at the time. Ten years later it remains totally illogical, warped thinking perpetuated by those with a losing mentality who always want to take the path of least resistance. That is the Florida Democratic Party’s House & Senate campaign wins.

  24. I really have to take exception with the comment that the main goal of the FDP is the re-election of Barack Obama and Bill Nelson. As long as that attitude prevails, Democrats will be the minority party in Florida, despite having voter registration advantages, and will continue to have difficulty electing statewide candidates.

    One need look no further than the election of Governor Voldermort, a/k/a Rick Scott, to see the folly in the approach of the FDP.

  25. I think most DECs are useless. People concerned about their status and making money as lobbyists or political consultants. Not true activists that work hard to elect Democrats regardless of circumstance or outside factors.

  26. While this article deals with races where Republicans have no Democratic opponent, over time we will discover that many of the Democratic challengers have no money, no name recognition and will provide minimal opposition. True, it will force the Republicans to actually campaign and spend some of their money, but it’s indicative of the failure of the FDP and the local DEC’s to recruit and develop local talent.

    The best example I have in my own back yard is House distirct 93 (the old 91, previously represented by Elyn Bogdanoff), now represented by George Moraitis. Redistricting has this district going from a 7 point Republican registration advantage to only 1 point. Further, the new district went 50/50 for Obama and 48% for Alex Sink.

    You would think that in the heart of Florida’s Democratic bastion we could find a credible candidate to run. Nothing against Gerri Ann Capostosto, who at least has the courage to file and run, but I don’t know of anyone in the area who had ever heard of her prior to her filing in April for this seat.

    Another lost opportunity.

  27. Agree on this! We could have easily recruited a better candidate there but did not really try.

  28. All of these problems were created by Maddox. Thurman and Smith have worked hard to help us try and overcome. But change takes time.

  29. It is nice to see someone from the party engaging in discussion. Usually they just hide and avoid any discussion of their performance.

    My questions for the party rep who flamed this site would be as follows:

    1- Do you agree or admit the FDP has underperformed for years?

    2- Would you be open to a chairman or chairwoman who is not part of the political establishment?

    3- Would you be open to a dialogue with activists?

    4- Would you agree the rules of the party and selection of the state committee needs to change?

    5- Do you agree that most large county DECs are worthless?

    6- How do you explain the seats listed in this article and not fielding candidates?

    7- In 2014, will we make a stronger effort to win?

    Thanks in advance.

  30. Rader is just another carpetbagger candidate desperate for a seat. It’s a shame there are two bozos running in that district. Is this our idea of proper representation ????

  31. Thurman was a total waste of time. The other 2 have changed nothing. Maddox was under Wexler’s control. Need we say more.

  32. Pingback: The FDP Has Done Something Right For A Change « The Political Hurricane

  33. Pingback: TPH Sources: House Victory Asking Possible New Targets to Dump Staff « The Political Hurricane – Florida Political Blog.

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