The 2014 Congressional races in Florida were largely ho-hum affairs outside of CD-2 and CD-26 which are on opposite ends of the state. The absence of a US Senate race and amount of cold hard cash spent on state races especially the Governorship took many Federal races off the radar for politicos. But 2016 will be an entirely different affair.
Yesterday, the one-and-only Larry Sabato took a first look at US House races for 2016 and rated four Florida Congressional seats as ones that could potentially flip in the next cycle. Obviously CD-2 and CD-26 which just flipped were rated as “leans” for the respective party that just won them. In addition CD-13 and CD-18 were in the “likely” category for the sitting member’s party though CD-18 could rapidly become a “toss-up” if Rep. Patrick Murphy seeks higher office.
Sabato describes CD-2 and incoming Rep. Gwen Graham in the following way:
Rep.-elect Gwen Graham (D, FL-2) is a very shaky Leans Democratic. Like Ashford, she won a Republican-leaning district against a flawed incumbent, outgoing Rep. Steve Southerland (R), and Republicans will have a great incentive to defeat her. If they don’t they will probably have to contend with her as a statewide candidate down the road (it’s not impossible to imagine her running this cycle for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Marco Rubio, but that seems like too quick of a statewide leap). However, Graham’s pedigree — her father, Bob Graham (D), is a former governor and senator — and strong performance as a candidate prompts us to install her as a small favorite to start.
The entire analysis by the incomparable Sabato is a must read for political junkies and can be found here.