Wednesday, March 12, 2014

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: What Sunk Sink? A Jolly Good Fellow Or Something Else?

The results are in from the special U.S. house election in
Florida, and it was a surprise to most observers that
David Jolly, the Republican candidate, generally unknown
in the district and a former DC lobbyist, won against a
previously popular former statewide office holder, Alex
Sink, who outspent him and had the in-person support of
many national Democratic figures, including Bill Clinton.

It was supposed to be a bellwether election, and all reported
signs were pointing to a Democratic takeover of a seat long
held by a Republican. In fact, exit polls published on the
eve of the election said that Sink had a large lead
among the 60% who had already voted. A Libertarian
candidate, the kind who usually takes more votes from the
Republican than the Democrat, was supposed to win 6% of
the vote or more.

The actual results showed Mr. Jolly winning almost 2%
more than Mrs Sink, and the Libertarian receiving less 5%
of the total vote.

What sunk Alex Sink? Mr. Obama had carried the district
twice, in 2008 and 2012, and Mrs. Sink had carried it in her
unsuccessful race for governor in 2010.

Post-election commentary ranges from the cautious (Michael
Barone in The Examiner) to the ominous (Josh Kraushaar in
National Journal), but it would appear that the commonplace
“all politics is local” applied less in this race than did more
national factors. Whether it is another signal of a forming
political tidal wave in the 2014 midterm elections or just an
electoral outlier remains to be seen, but I will wager that
most Democratic candidates for the U.S. house and senate in
competitive races are more uneasy after this special election
than they were before it.

For Republicans, the winner was a jolly good surprise --- for
now --- which nobody can deny.
Copyright (c) 2014 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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