Prior to now, there has always been speculation that the Democrats in House Victory have not taken the legislative races seriously. During the days before the filing deadline, a number of Democrats throughout the state filed as candidates for the State House without even speaking to either House Victory or the Florida Democratic Party. If it wasn’t for these self-recruited Democratic candidates, the Republicans possibly could have retained the majority on the day of the filing deadline.
Even with that, we now understand that important districts for Democrats to win to regain control of the Florida House are being considered safe “GOP” districts by House Victory, even though they are not.
In documents obtained by the The Political Hurricane, House Victory has written off two Miami-Dade seats that are easily toss-up seats and could easily be targeted by House Victory. In House District 114, Rick Scott only won the district by 1.2% in 2010, with Obama only losing by 4%. In neighboring district 115, Alex Sink actually won by 1.1% in 2010. Both districts only give Republicans less than a 5% registration advantage, with 25% of their districts registered as NPA/Other Party. In addition, these communities are mixed, and include the Cuban communities that have been trending Democratic over the past 10 years.
Demographic shifts in both District 114 and 115 mean that these seats will likely lean Democratic within a few election cycles if not sooner. If the party is unwilling to invest in candidates now in these races, one has to wonder if they will be able to capture the districts when they are next open.
In order for the Democrats to start being a force in State of Florida yet again, these are the seats that we need to work on in order to make a difference. Over the past 10 years, we have been slacking when it comes to our targeting. And while 2006 was a good year for Democrats in the state, retaining our winnings hasn’t been as easy.
The 2012 election cycle is very important for Democrats in the state. The Obama for America campaign has invested heavily in our state. In fact, while I was in Polk County yesterday, I met staffers from OFA that were working there. If OFA is actually trying to target Polk County, then they are taking our state seriously.
But then we look at what we are doing at the state level and the results are disastrous. 40% of the State House already gone to the Republicans. And why is that? I wish I could give you the answers, but I am as confused as almost everyone else.
When people send donations to the Florida Democratic Party, which I am sure many of you that read our blog do, there is a point where we want to make sure that our money is being invested wisely. Instead, it seems as if we are spending like drunken sailors in Dutch Harbor, Alaska (yep, had to use it again). As people that are investing in the party, it is purely time to ask the FDP, House and Senate Victory “what have you done for me lately?”
When the financial reports start coming out, it will be interesting to see who the Florida Democratic Party and both House and Senate Victory end up backing. Will it be the seats that we should be winning anyway? Will they be seats that Obama and Sink won by decent margins? Or will it be seats that are true toss-ups. Will they be seats where we can actually make an impact? Unfortunately, it isn’t the latter.
Let’s look at this through the eyes of a gambler. In 2007, the New England Patroits finished 16-0, not losing a single game. If someone were to bet on the Pats to win the Super Bowl, they would get a very low return on their investment. On the other hand, those that bet on the New York Giants, the only team to beat New England, and that was in the Super Bowl, would have had a higher return on their investment. Yes, there was risk involved, but the reward was worth it for those that invested in the New York Giants.
We are at the same point in the Florida Democratic Party. We are constantly putting our money on the sure bets and we are winning. Yes, we could be winning these sure bets, but it isn’t going to make us any richer. It is time that Democrats start taking a risk. And the sad part is that investing in places like House District 114 and 115 aren’t risks at all. Putting money here would be a good investment.
A few months ago I asked people to ask the FDP why we are in the position that we are in. Now we see the answer. Fundamental changes need to happen now. We need to consider doing a spring cleaning of the entire Florida Democratic Party apparatus. Not only is the FDP not trying, they are easily misinformed, as the analysis of House District 114 and 115 shows.
In V.O. Key Jr.’s book Southern Politics, he said that Florida was a “every man for himself” type of political system. Unfortunately, that remains the same today. We don’t do anything to help our candidates move forward. The Republicans get it. Oh, trust me, they really get it. But I am wondering if we ever will.