A few weeks ago we talked about the importance of protecting incumbents and we named Reps. Mark Danish, Mike Clelland, and Carl Zimmerman. Today we highlight two more, this time ladies: Linda Stewart and Karen Castor-Dentel. They are very much in the same situation – purple seats with serious Republican contenders and a tough fight ahead. They will be out-gunned and out-spent and urgently need support if we are going to keep them around. Both of their opponents will be decided in the Aug 26th primary, so hopefully that will take a little of the edge off, but it still looks like a tough race for both. there is hope in the fact that Charlie Crist is going to need these Orlando votes and hopefully can bring out the Democratic vote, but it will not be nearly the 2012 Obama levels, so these are both races to watch closely.
These votes are especially important for the movement against school choice – Karen Castor-Dentel has been an important voice here and considering how school choice is becoming a wedge issue dividing Democrats, it is important to keep that voice in the House.
(Also, extra kudos to Karen Castor-Dentel: That website is one of the better ones I’ve seen this season.)
I’ll repeat what I posted before: 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.
And the Republicans have real motivation to up the spending and fight in these few races. The further this season goes on the more it looks like the Democrats are in real trouble. If the Republicans win all of these seats (Danish, Clelland, Zimmerman, Stewart, and Castor-Dentel), they will have a veto-proof majority in the house. While there are always some surprises election day, there could even be a few more upsets, so it is important for Democrats to hold their ground. While there are a few hopeful places around the state, overall the odds are looking better and better that Republicans are going to gain a few seats. Even if Crist regains the Governor’s mansion, a veto-proof in the house or the senate could severely limit his power.