Aug 15, 2012

Ryan Republicans in Deep Jeopardy All Across Florida

With Tuesday's primary election results in Florida, it's clear Democrats have the opportunity to make big gains across the state with extremely vulnerable House Republicans.  After Congressman Paul Ryan was chosen to lead the Republican ticket, Florida's Congressional Republicans will now spend the next 84 days defending their support for Ryan’s budget that ends Medicare for seniors while protecting tax cuts for millionaires. That's an impossible pitch to make in Florida where over 3 million seniors depend on Medicare.

A newly released Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that 79 percent of registered voters oppose reducing Medicare benefits, Congressman Paul Ryan will cost Republicans Congressional seats in Florida. Buisnessweek noted that the Ryan plan "stands to be a major political liability" and could "scare the Bejesus out of Florida seniors."

A Medicare ending agenda isn't the only roadblock to Republicans' re-election in Florida. Florida Republicans are the most corrupt and scandal-plagued delegation in the nation with Republicans including Congressman David Rivera and Congressman Vern Buchanan facing serious, ongoing investigations by the FBI and IRS.

In addition, recent polls have shown that voters prefer Democrats in Congress.

  • Democratic candidates have a 6-point lead (50 - 44 percent) with Democratic challengers reaching the critical 50-percent threshold in the most vulnerable 27 House Republican-held districts according to a recent Democracy Corps Poll.
  • Americans think the country would be better off with a Democratic-controlled Congress by 6 points (45 - 39 percent) according to the latest CNN poll.

Democrats Have Two Prime Pickup Opportunities

  • FL-09 -- Former Congressman Alan Grayson will face Tea Party extremist Todd Long who has less than $3,500 cash on hand.  In a district that voted 61% for Obama, Republicans’ preferred candidate failed to win the primary and Todd Long will have an extremely difficult challenge in defeating Grayson.  Long supports a radical agenda which includes ending Medicare, privatizing Social Security, implementing a 23% national sales tax and abolishing the Department of Education.  
  • FL-22 -- The former mayor of West Palm Beach, Lois Frankel, has a track record of getting results for small businesses, seniors, and children. She faces Adam Hasner who is too extreme for the district, supports Ryan’s Medicare-ending budget and has been named “the indisputable king of partisan warfare.”  The newly drawn district would have voted 57% for Obama and over 56% for Kerry.

Strong Democratic Challengers Are On Offense

  • FL-02 -- Since coming to Washington, Congressman Steve Southerland has proven that he is out of touch and wrong for North Florida families, farmers and seniors. Southerland faces a well known and well liked challenger, State Senator Al Lawson. This district is traditionally a Democratic district that became even more competitive after redistricting, and Democrat gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink would have carried the district in 2010. 
  • FL-10 -- Congressman Dan Webster faces a stiff challenge from former Orlando Chief of Police Val Demings. Chief Demings has a track record of getting results for Florida families. Under her watch, she cut her budget by millions while cutting violent crime by 40%. She has outraised Congressman Webster for the last four fundraising periods and Webster will be forced defend his votes to protect political insiders and special interest over the middle class and seniors.
  • FL-13 -- Congressman Bill Young, the longest serving Republican in Congress, faces an energetic challenger with Jessica Ehrlich who recently outraised Congressman Young. Although Young claims to be a moderate, he has become out of touch with this district that voted 52% for Obama. His anemic fundraising, anti-women voting record and votes for Ryan’s budget to end Medicare leave him at risk in this swing district.   
  • FL-16 -- Congressman Vern Buchanan faces massive obstacles to re-election because of the ongoing investigations by the FBI, IRS, DOJ, a federal grand jury and the House Ethics Committee. Congressman Buchanan has been outraised the last three quarters by Keith Fitzgerald who is “well known for his integrity and resistance to special interests” according to the Bradenton Herald.  In addition, no other competitive district in the country has a higher concentration of seniors making Congressman Vern Buchanan even more at risk with his votes for Ryan’s budget to end Medicare. 
  • FL-18 --  In a true toss-up district, Congressman Allen West is one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country and is faced with the impossible task of defending his extreme and divisive record in Congress. Congressman West faces Patrick Murphy, a successful small businessman and CPA who has worked to create jobs in Florida.  This moderate district voted for both Obama in 2008 and gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink in 2010.
  • FL-26 --  With Joe Garcia’s decisive victory, Democrats have an opportunity to unseat corrupt career politician David Rivera (FL-26) who is deeply out of touch with Florida seniors and middle class families. With ongoing investigations by the FBI and IRS, even Marco Rubio has said Rivera’s ethical issues are “serious.” Unlike Congressman Rivera, Joe Garcia is committed to protecting Medicare, expanding educational opportunities, and getting South Floridians back to work.  The Miami Herald wrote that Rivera’s new district is “not as helpful to his political prospects” because it supported very narrowly McCain and Governor Scott by only a fraction of a percentage point.  

Want the latest updates? Follow the DCCC on Facebook and Twitter: