Now that the primaries are over, the Florida Democratic Party is back to their flawed ways yet again. Instead of concentrating on legislative races, the FDP is doing exactly the opposite, and concentrating on the Congressional races instead.
The method seems to be that if a congressional candidate is promoted by the FDP, that will some how “trickle down” to the lower legislative races. So far, this method has never worked in a presidential election year, and there is no reason to think that it will happen this time.
According to Peter Schorsch at SaintPetersBlog.com, the Florida Democratic Party has already started to target two Congressional candidates in districst that lean pretty heavily Republican. While both Val Demings and Heather Beaven are quality candidates, both are in districts that the Republicans have a good 75% chance of retaining. In the case of Beaven’s seat, the chance is even higher. Yet only a couple of days after the hotly contested primaries in the legislative races, the FDP decides that the best investment is in the Congressional races.
Why is this? Who really knows. As was mentioned above, there is some thought in the FDP that the popularity of the congressional candidates will decide the races lower down the ticket. For some reason, they think voters say “you know, I really don’t care about the presidential or senate race, and I am just going to skip down the ballot to the congressional races.” That doesn’t happen and never will.
Maybe they think that if there is a pattern in which if the voter votes Democratic on the congressional race, that they will continue down-ballot to the legislative races and vote Democratic. Somehow, it doesn’t seem that “congressional coattails” has ever been a major factor in elections.
Instead, after the primary, it already looks like the FDP is letting the legislative candidates fend for themselves. Unless you are one of the “anointed” candidates for the Party, the chances are that the Party doesn’t have much room for you anymore. This case isn’t more clear than in the case of Andrew Morey. Morey defeated anointed candidate Aaron Bosshardt in what could be considered one of the biggest shocks on primary night.
With Bosshardt’s loss, the Florida Democratic Party couldn’t work fast enough to take his photo and profile off of their website of targeted districts. Yet did they replace it with Morey’s photo? Nope not yet. Granted, we have give the party the benefit of the doubt because the election just happened three days ago.
What is even more interesting are the races that are still on the website. Joe Gibbons won his primary over Sheldon Lisbon. In this Democratic primary, which the winner took the seat, the Party decided to blatantly take sides. But after Gibbons’ victory, his race is still one of the “targeted” races. Why? We know they already edited the site to take Bosshardt’s profile off. So why is Gibbons still there?
What is even more interesting is that Victor Torres ran unopposed, yet Florida House District 48 is on the FDP’s site of “Florida State House Races”. But where is the race? This isn’t a situation where someone dropped out in the last few days or whatnot. Torres was unopposed since the filing deadline. True, it is easy to target a race when there is only one candidate on the ballot. Cheap to target it as well.
This is the point where both the Florida Democratic Party and House Victory needs to organize. Putting on their website that they are targeting seats that they have already won makes it look like amateur night at The Improv. Still, the Party has a chance to redeem itself. First of all, they can back Andrew Morey’s candidacy 100%. This is where the FDP and House Victory can decide if they want to take their marbles and go home, of if they want to use those marbles and throw them at the Republicans.
But shifting back to the Congressional races, what will be even a more interesting is to see if the FDP gets involved in the 2nd Congressional District race, where Al Lawson thrashed FDP-favorite (though they won’t say it) Leonard Bembry. Up to this point, the Party had been constantly attacking Republican Congressman Steve Southerland. At the time of the attacks, the FDP, as well as the DCCC, where expecting Bembry to be the Democratic nominee. Now that the nominee is Lawson, will the attacks on Southerland by the FDP continue? We will see.
If the FDP truly thinks that the Congressional coattails approach works, then they have no other choice but to fully support Al Lawson. If they do not support Lawson, they are either admitting that targeting congressional races is flawed, or that they still hold a grudge against Lawson for beating Bembry. No matter how they slice it, Lawson needs to be targeted as long as congressional districts are a higher priority than legislative races for the FDP.
This is the point where the Florida Democratic Party needs to plan their work and work their plan. They seem to be all over the place. Now is the time where they can pick their targeted districts and do the right thing. The question is, in the case of Morey and Lawson, will FDP grudges still hold or will they be able to move beyond the differences.