The Political Hurricane has learned via multiple sources that several self recruited Democratic House candidates have been asked to terminate their formal relationships with certain campaign staff in order to secure party help in terms of both staffing and fundraising. While these sorts of maneuvers happen every election cycle, in most cases House Victory has not been involved in the recruitment of the affected candidates nor the development of their campaign plans.
House Victory is beginning to expand its scope beyond the previously targeted races in the Tampa Bay area and east central Florida which is good news for Democratic legislative prospects. With approximately 54-57 “safe” Republican seats on the reapportionment map by TPH estimates (as compared to 69-72 under the map that was in place from 2002 to 2012), the impact of the Fair District Amendment should put control of the Florida House squarely in play by 2016. But for that happen the Democrats must contest Republican held seats aggressively. Much to the disappointment of activists throughout the state the party choose to leave more than a dozen winnable seats uncontested this year and have relied on self recruited candidates in several other winnable but non targeted seats in districts stretching throughout the peninsula.
The bad news is that the party is once again employing a quid pro quo for party support, something which has clearly not worked in the past. Candidates whose races have been added to the target list were promised per our sources increased access to fundraising and party money in return for releasing staff who in some cases were responsible for the candidate recruitment.
Our readers can determine whether this is a good thing or not. As for my opinion, on one hand it is encouraging to see the FDP take an interest in more races than those that were targeted in this now infamous video produced for the Jefferson-Jackson dinner which was held in Hollywood two weekends ago. But on the other hand, the party is continuing its decade plus long pattern of muscling out staff and consultants that may have an exceptional local network of contacts and influence in order to “control” candidates budgets and message more closely. In fairness, the Republican Party of Florida is guilty of similar behavior in targeted races and have been highly successful in muscling out existing staff and then running winning campaigns lock stock and barrel.
However, the story with the Democrats is quite different. On several occasions in past election cycles, Democratic operatives have forced the ouster of local campaign workers or chosen to not give assistance to certain candidates based on whom they have hired as consultants or staff. The DCCC is guilty of this as well, and that policy has created hurt feelings and local trouble for the national party. Still in some cases the DCCC action has worked, ensuring the flipping of previously held GOP seats to the Democrats.
In some cases the FDP are acting at the request of local DECs who are torn by factional in-fighting. Stay tuned to TPH for more on this story in the upcoming weeks.