Friday, November 14, 2008

Election 2008 Analysis — Congressional Elections

This is the second in a series of posts I’ll do this weekend looking back over the 2008 election. This one will cover the congressional election, others will cover the presidential race, the Florida legislature, the constitutional amendments and Leon County.

District 8: Alan Grayson (D) 52.0%, Ric Keller (R) 48.0%

This was obviously the story of the day from the congressional races. Earlier in the year, most people in Florida didn't know who Grayson was and Keller was an incumbent with a lot of money. I had Alan on the radio show early on and I was so impressed with him that I followed this race very closely. Grayson ran as a progressive, worked his tail off and worked well with the Netroots in and out of Florida and maximized his opportunities to raise funds and spent those funds wisely. Hopefully after two years in Washington, his constituents will love him as much as a lot of the bloggers do and this will become a solidly Democratic district.

District 24: Suzanne Kosmas (D) 57.2%, Tom Feeney (R) 41.1%

Kosmas isn't quite as progressive as Grayson or as many bloggers would like, but she's still light years ahead of corrupt Tom Feeney. Hopefully her landslide here means that this district is turning blue and isn't just a artifact of Feeney's scandals.

District 16: Tom Rooney (R) 60.1%, Tim Mahoney (D) 39.9%

Mahoney, who spurned Barack Obama and Democrats at every turn, got what he deserved here. He only got the seat because of Mark Foley's sex scandal and he was too stupid to stay out of his own scandal. Moron. He still would've been better than Rooney, who seems to be a Tom Feeney clone. This is a Republican district, though, and we'll need something pretty big in terms of Rooney scandals or a high-quality candidate to take this seat back.

District 18: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) 57.9%, Annette Taddeo (D) 42.1%
District 21: Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R) 57.9%, Raul Martinez (D) 42.1%
District 25: Mario Diaz-Balart (R) 53.1%, Joe Garcia (D) 46.9%

It's difficult not to blame Debbie Wasserman Schultz for these losses, particularly Garcia's. The strongest challengers to face the Miami Cuban Republican trio probably just ran a few years too soon. Hopefully we'll see them again and I'll wager that Garcia would be a lock to beat Mario in two years.

District 4: Ander Crenshaw (R) 65.3%, Jay McGovern (D) 34.7%
District 12: Adam Putnam (R) 57.5%, Doug Tudor (D) 42.5%

These were the toughest losses of the day for me, since Jay and Doug were both great guys to know and very good candidates who would've elevated the discourse in Washington. Hopefull we'll see them again. Tudor was also hurt by Wasserman Schultz failing to do her job, but I have a feeling we'll see him again soon. With some more money, he could take out Putnam. District 4 is very Republican, so it's difficult to see Crenshaw going down, but if this were an open seat, I'd think McGovern could take it.

District 13: Vern Buchanan (R) 55.5%, Christine Jennings (D) 37.5%

While this seat rightfully belongs to Jennings, it wasn't likely that she was going to win this time. Not because of any fault on her part, simply because Republicans were able to convince enough of the public that Jennings's complaints about the stolen election of 2006 were "sour grapes." Once they won that battle, Jennings didn't have much chance.

District 6: Cliff Stearns (R) 60.9%, Tim Cunha (D) 39.1%
District 7: John Mica (R) 62.0%, Faye Armitage (D) 38.0%
District 14: Connie Mack (R) 59.4%, Robert M. Neeld (D) 24.8%, Burt Saunders (NPA) 14.5%
District 15: Bill Posey (R) 53.1%, Stephen Blythe (D) 41.9%

This was a series of Democratic candidates -- all of whom I met or interviewed on the radio show -- who are all very good people who I liked. But they each ran in tough districts where they were seriously outspent and they all were a bit new and inexperienced in campaigning. Hopefully we'll see them again, because they'd clearly be improvements over the Republicans in these seats and most would be improvements over the Republicans in the legislative districts they live in as well.

District 9: Gus Bilirakis (R) 62.0%, Bill Mitchell (D) 36.3%
District 10: C.W. Bill Young (R) 60.7%, Bob Hackworth (D) 39.3%

I think both of these seats are winnable for the Democrats, but both Mitchell and Hackworth suffered from tough primaries and not enough early exposure to voters. That and a lack of money made it difficult for them to gain any traction in the short general election period.

District 1: Jeff Miller (R) 70.2%, James Bryan (D) 29.8%

Miller is horrible, but this is an incredibly conservative part of the state and I don't know anyone who knows much about Bryan, so he faced an uphill battle that he couldn't win.

District 2: Allen Boyd (D) 61.9%, Mark Mulligan (R) 38.0%
District 11: Kathy Castor (D) 71.7%, Eddie Adams Jr. (R) 28.3%
District 19: Robert Wexler (D) 66.2%, Edward Lynch (R) 27.2%
District 20: Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) 77.2%, Margaret Hostetter (NPA) 22.3%
District 22: Ron Klein (D) 54.6%, Allen West (R) 45.3%
District 23: Alcee Hastings (D) 82.1%, Marion Thorpe Jr. (R) 17.8%

A series of popular Democratic incumbents in Democratic districts faced little competition. Most of these Dems have strong progressive voting records (except Boyd), even if they haven't always done the progressive thing outside of the capitol (I'm looking at you, Debbie). We'll likely hold onto these seats for a long time, although the numbers in District 22 are worrisome.

District 5: Ginny Brown-Waite (R) 61.2%, John Russell (D) 38.8%

Brown-Waite is one of the weakest members of the Florida congressional delegation and I think this is a winnable for the right Democrat. Suffice it to say that John Russell isn't that Democrat. He is one of the most widely-disliked Democrats in the state amongst other Democrats not because he's terrible on the issues, but because his personality and tactics are destructive and frequently offensive.

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