Capitol Hill Broom– Reaching FL?

  A Congressional special election in Mississippi is almost overshadowing Hillary Clinton’s win in WV’s Primary.  In Mississippi’s 1st Cong. District, Democrat Travis Childers won back a seat the GOP had held since 1994.  It was the 3rd Dem triumph in a long-time Repub Congressional district in the last few weeks.  Even the head of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, Cong. Tom Cole, is conceding that people have lost confidence in the Republican Party.

  This all offers hope for challengers to South FL Republican Congressional incumbents.  After all, Mississippi’s 1st CD voted 64% for George Bush four years ago… compared to just 54% in Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s District, 56% in the CD represented by Mario Diaz-Balart, and 57% in his brother Lincoln’s District. 

   The campaign manager for Democratic challengers Raul Martinez (running against Lincoln D-B) and Annette Taddeo (who will oppose Ros-Lehtinen) is euphoric today.  Jeff Garcia says the Mississippi results are yet another indication that “change is in the air” in this election cycle.  He points to big registration shifts favoring local Dem challlengers.

   Cong.  Cole, while conceding the climate isn’t looking good this year for the GOP, predicts things will get better.  “It’s our misfortune to have these special elections at this time,” Cole told reporters on a midday conference call, “because I think we would have fared better in the midst of a great national debate.”

  Cole argues, Democratic Congressional leaders have been playing a “delay game”, passing no major initiatives of late, while playing “pin the tail on the Republicans”.  He claims that will backfire in the fall, when GOP Congressman can attack their oppponents and the Democrats’ Presidential candidate in the same breath.  

   Maybe– but attempts by Mississippi Republicans to pin Barack Obama onto Travis Childers’ campaign didn’t bear fruit.  Lots of attackads mentioned Childers and Obama (and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) in the same breath.  You can see some of them on Youtube:

  So– how likely is it the winds of change will blow South Florida Congressional incumbents out?  Thus far, the non-partisan analysts at the Cook Political Report don’t think the odds are good.  They only rate one South FL Repub. as being at all endangered, classifying Lincoln Diaz-Balart’s seat as “Likely Republican”.

  Indeed, Cook rates two Florida Congressman more vulnerable than Diaz-Balart– Central Florida Republican Tom Feeney, who was a golfing buddy of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and Palm Beach Democrat Tim Mahoney, who won a usually-Republican seat last time when the incumbent, Mark Foley, dropped out after his suggestive emails to Congressional pages made headlines.



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