Two significant changes this week to our ratings. We’ve moved the 2nd Congressional District race between Steve Southerland and Al Lawson to “Likely Republican” based on public polling in the region regarding the Presidential, US Senate and State House races that overlap the district. Lawson should outperform Alan Boyd’s poor 41% here in 2010 and but probably won’t be close enough to seriously threaten Southerland. Like so many other largely rural Southern seats that fit the profile of this district, once they flipped to the GOP in the 1990s or 2000s they flip for good.Keep in mind the once previous GOP Rep. from this district, Bill Grant was never elected as a Republican and was defeated badly by Pete Peterson in 1990, which was his first election as a Republican.
Their are exceptions to this rule and the hope was CD-2 with Tallahassee as an anchor and lots of government workers in the district would keep this area competitive. But President Obama is deeply unpopular in this area and outside of Tallahassee, Democrats are hardly competitive in legislative races these days. Besides, Southerland’s base in Bay County should inoculate him from any desire among Government workers to reward Lawson for his longstanding loyalty to them while he was in the legislature. Still this race bears monitoring and Lawson will certainly be more competitive than Boyd was two years ago.
Our other change is moving CD-9 from “Likely Democrat” to “Leans Democrat.” The prevailing wisdom when Todd Long won the GOP Primary five weeks ago was that Alan Grayson was home free in this heavily Democratic and largely Hispanic district. But recent polling indicates otherwise. Grayson is defined to the electorate and while his progressive politics align with the district his personality very well may not. Activists like Grayson, but in much the same way as Allen West on the Republican side, his personality more than his ideology is polarizing (West’s voting record is actually less conservative than several other Florida Republicans, but his fiery nature will make him a perennial target) and thus any race he runs in will be competitive.
Long is not the strongest nominee the GOP could have had in this seat. His primary victory may in fact have saved the seat for the Democrats. Had John Q won the Republican Primary, this seat would almost certainly be a “toss-up.”
Ratings after the jump
FL- 14 (Castor )
FL- 20 (Hastings)
FL- Senate (Nelson)
FL- 6 (Open)
FL- 8 (Posey)
FL-12 ( Bilirakis)
FL 27 (Ros-Lehtinen)