The special election for Florida’s 13th Congressional District today is already spawning a load of junky punditry. The race is close in a district roughly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. Gobs of money have been spent on both sides, so one side will have wasted a whole lot of money (The Democrat vastly outspent the Republican, although outside Republican groups have scrambled to keep up) on a questionable candidate, given that neither Democrat Alex Sink, failed gubernatorial candidate, nor the former aide to the late Republican representative Bill Young, David Jolly, have dazzled voters. Here’s some quick debunking:
“This is a hint of what’s ahead in the November, 2014 mid-terms.” Umm, no. The GOP is infamous for losing special elections and did so in 2010 — just before a big win.
“If Sink wins, this will show the ‘fix it, don’t repeal it’ Democratic strategy can work.” Not at all. Incumbent Democrats voted to pass Obamacare and joined the president in making a slew of misrepresentations, including the “if you like your plan” debacle. Moreover, they’ve voted again and again against attempts to delay, alter and repeal parts of the law. Are voters supposed to now trust them to fix the mess they voted for, mislead about and protected to shield the White House? Oh, and Democrats would probably be required to say what changes they’d make.
“A GOP loss would show establishment groups aren’t effective.” Well, at least groups like American Crossroads and many incumbent House Republicans spent heavily trying to boost Jolly, while right-wing groups were showering money on flaky Senate challengers beating up on other Republicans.
“If Jolly loses, blame the libertarian.” Well, maybe if it is that close. But Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) made a ton of robo-calls for the Republican Jolly in the stretch — shouldn’t that have solved that issue?
“If Jolly wins, he can thank Obama; if Sink wins, Obama isn’t toxic to Dems.” Hardly. Obama stayed clear of this race so both sides will cling to their narratives.
“This is going to show if the GOP has turned the corner on its get out the vote problems.” Only a little. Running a single race in a single special election is vastly different than a midterm with statewide races.
So what will it show? I suppose that a poor candidate can be a worse candidate when the money is roughly even.