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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Can Jolly David Sink Alex?

There is a danger of reading too much into a special election but yesterday's election to fill a vacant representative's seat for the Virginia's 100th district was a clear win for Republicans and a stinging defeat for Democrats. Robert Bloxom coasted to an easy win, taking 60 % of the vote in his first quest for elective office. Clearly something is amiss. Barack Obama carried this seat by 10 points in 2012 and more recently Terry McAuliffe won it 48% to 46%.
Is this a harbinger of a wave election this fall? Does it signify an in-your-face rejection of Obamacare? Are Democrats suffering from voter fatigue as possibly evidenced by their low turnout? Unequivocally maybe.
Maybe what happens in Virginia Beach stays in Virginia Beach but the results of Florida's special election to fill the vacant seat created by the death of Congressman Bill Young should provide more guidance. Stuart Rothenberg who publishes the authoritative Rothenberg Report has called it a must win seat for the Democrats.
It’s rare in politics that anything other than a presidential contest is viewed as a “must win” — but the special election in Florida’s 13th District falls into that category for Democrats.
A loss in the competitive March 11 contest would almost certainly be regarded by dispassionate observers as a sign that President Barack Obama could constitute an albatross around the neck of his party’s nominees in November. And that could make it more difficult for Democratic candidates, campaign committees and interest groups to raise money and energize the grass roots.
The Democrats have gone with their heaviest hitter, Alex Sink. She is a top shelf candidate who lost to Rick Scott in the governor's race by a mere 61,550 votes out of 5.3 million cast. The Republicans fielded a former congressional aide turned lobbyist, David Jolly. Obama has twice carried the district and it should be an easy win for Sink except it isn't.
Early voting has already begun and 64,000 ballots have been received. Of these 42% have been cast by Republicans and 39% by Democrats but Republicans have been there before. In 2012 Republicans held a 6 percent lead yet Obama, with his massive get out the vote campaign, won the district but so did  Young. This election neither Obama nor Young are on the ballot and a low voter turnout could sink the Sink.

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