With the financial reports that came out in Friday, it became pretty clear that there are a few Democrats who are in dire straits this November. If the party is going to hold in the house, we have to step up and protect our own. Saving the incumbents should be a priority for the FDP – if the Democrats are ever going to gain in the house, they have to protect those who dare to run and reward those that win. While it is understandable that the party cannot support every Democrat who files, it must support those who have shown the persistence to win a district and get to Tallahassee. House Victory is showing some major fundraising hiccups, so it is important that safe Democrats also get out and fund raise for their fellow Democratic representatives.
Without incumbent protection, the motivation to run in hard races goes down. And the longer seats go uncontested, the harder it is to put in a Democratic infrastructure needed to flip a district. With the Democrats being at 45 seats in the House, they are dangerously close to giving the Republicans a veto-proof majority again. This is going to be a hard year for Democrats and the party has to prepare to lose seats, yet cannot give up the fight. When you don’t protect your incumbents, there is little to keep them from voting Republican in key votes so that they do not lose their support from constituents, especially in these purple districts. Ultimately, it weakens the entire party. Until the party learns to protect incumbents, the party cannot be expected to unify.
Eight Democrat incumbents are rated as vulnerable. Today we will discuss three of them.
Representative Carl Zimmerman is possibly in the worst shape. His opponent has already twice the amount of cash raised and the Republican Party of Florida has already pegged Chris Sprowles as a new rising star. This is one of those races that is going to pit Republican money against a Democratic ground game. The district leans a little red, so it is going to be a tough fight that will be one to watch. While Zimmerman has shown persistence and this will be his fourth campaign in the area, so he knows his turf. In each of the previous three he has out performed just about every other Democrat on the ballot. While the Democrats will undoubtedly be outspent in the area, hopefully the power of incumbency will help. Zimmerman has tried to moderate slightly, supporting the bill to allow teachers to carry guns, which perhaps will help him turn over a few more reds.
(Unfortunately, Zimmerman’s website is getting re-done, so he is unable to accept online donations at this time. When your opponent is out-raising you 2-1, this should probably be a priority Z.)
Representative Mike Clelland is not far behind, although his new gig with John Morgan is probably going to improve his financial situation. Clelland was the Cinderella shory of 2012, knocking off Dorworth, who was expected to be House leader in 2016-2018 by 167 votes. He is up against former representative Scott Plakon, who was defeated in 2012 by Representative Karen Castor-Dentel. Will Clelland be lucky twice, going up against one of the most socially conservative members in recent history? He has slightly better financial odds thanks to robust labor support and with the backing of John Morgan surely his chances will go up. Nonetheless his district leans red, so Republicans know they have a good shot here.
Clelland does have a website up and functional, so bonus points for him: http://www.clellandforflorida.com/
Representative Mark Danish shocked the state by winning in 2012 with a mere $7,000. However, the republicans are now wise to his game and former State Representative BLANK wants his job back. The district is a toss-up (though our Kartik Krishnaiyer rates it as Leans Democrat in his latest ratings), so like Zimmerman, it very well might come down to Republican money vs. Danish’s ground game. Without the “Obama” bump in a mid-term election, he faces an uphill battle facing former Representative Shawn Harrison, who is outpacing him in fund raising. While he has much more than seven grand in the bank this time, it is still going to be a tough race.
Mark Danish website: http://www.markdanish.com