When Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen announced her retirement in April, NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers declared with a straight face that he was “…confident we will keep this seat red in 2018.”
Well, Mr. Chairman, now might be a good time to quietly issue a correction.
Before this week, the most significant news in the Republican primary was Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, whose claim she had been abducted by aliens made national headlines. Now Republicans in Washington will have to deal with the harsh reality that their handpicked candidates have failed to build the kind of campaigns they’ll need to compete in South Florida.
Best of luck.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Republican candidates for Ros-Lehtinen’s seat are fundraising like they’ve given up
By David Nir | Daily KOS
When longtime GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced that she was retiring, it was clear the GOP was in for a tough fight to hold this Miami-area seat. Still, while Florida’s 27th District shifted from 53-46 Obama all the way to 59-39 Clinton, Republicans still do well down-ballot here, so we expected Team Red to put up a stiff fight. But right now, it’s the Democratic candidates who are hoarding cash, while the Republican candidates are acting like all hope is lost.
When Raquel Regalado, a former member of the Miami-Dade County school board and the daughter of termed-out Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, was considering running, she looked like she’d check all the boxes the GOP wanted. Regalado has hosted a well-known Spanish-language radio show, and the self-described moderate could have reminded voters of Ros-Lehtinen. But while Regalado announced she was running in late May, she took two months to even open a campaign fundraising account. Regalado then proceeded to raise just $15,000 for the third quarter, an absolutely jaw-droopingly low sum. We’ve seen highly-touted candidates underwhelm many times in the past, but usually not this badly, and it’s not clear what’s up.
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro jumped in back in May, and unlike Regalado, he actually did start raising money. Barreiro took in $176,000 during his first two months in the race, an ok but not incredible haul, but he raised just $42,000 over the following three months. Barreiro had $187,000 left in the bank at the end of September. And as for Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, the former Doral city councilor who said she’d been abducted by aliens, she raised $5,000. Team Red still has a large bench in this area, and they may be able to find someone better to run. But right now, none of the Republicans are acting at all like they’re ready for a tough race.