Outside Spending Battle Begins in Fla. Special Election

EMILY’s List readies mail campaign, while the NRCC unloads a paid Web video.

MIAMI - OCTOBER 21: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink speaks during a campaign event at Miami-Dade College October 21, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Sink is facing off against Republican challenger Rick Scott for the Florida governor's seat.
National Journal
Scott Bland
See more stories about...
Scott Bland
Jan. 16, 2014, 9:26 a.m.

The spe­cial elec­tion to re­place the late Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., is get­ting its first big in­jec­tion of out­side money just days in­to the con­test.

Wo­men Vote!, the in­de­pend­ent ex­pendit­ure arm of Demo­crat­ic wo­men’s group EMILY’s List, will soon be­gin a dir­ect-mail pro­gram tar­get­ing 46,000 voters in Flor­ida’s 13th Dis­trict, where EMILY’s List-en­dorsed Demo­crat Alex Sink and Re­pub­lic­an Dav­id Jolly are bat­tling over a bell­weth­er dis­trict. The six-fig­ure pro­gram is di­vided in two, with one set of mail­ers seek­ing to gen­er­ate votes from in­de­pend­ent seni­or wo­men and a second set seek­ing to per­suade and mo­tiv­ate both wo­men and men who tend to vote in gen­er­al elec­tions but not in primar­ies.

The dis­trict has one of the biggest seni­or pop­u­la­tions in the coun­try, with nearly 23 per­cent of res­id­ents 65 or older.

Tar­geted house­holds will re­ceive sev­en mail pieces, timed dif­fer­ently de­pend­ing on wheth­er the voters will re­ceive mail bal­lots. Voters will start get­ting ab­sent­ee bal­lots in early Feb­ru­ary, while the spe­cial elec­tion is sched­uled for March 11. Jolly, a former Young staffer who has worked as a lob­by­ist since leav­ing the Hill, just cap­tured the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion Tues­day. Sink was un­op­posed for the Demo­crat­ic nod.

The Na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee is also spend­ing in the dis­trict Thursday, in a less tra­di­tion­al man­ner: It re­leased a Web video ad backed by a “six-fig­ure” ex­pendit­ure that hammered Sink over her spend­ing as Flor­ida’s chief fin­an­cial of­ficer. “It’s troub­ling that Alex Sink spent over $400,000 of Flor­ida fam­il­ies’ money to jet around in a tax­pay­er-fun­ded plane — even us­ing it for per­son­al use and for polit­ic­al cam­paign events,” said NR­CC spokes­wo­man Katie Prill in a state­ment.

Out­side spend­ing fig­ures to be crit­ic­al in the closely di­vided dis­trict, which Pres­id­ent Obama car­ried nar­rowly in the 2012 elec­tion. Some Re­pub­lic­an groups have signaled they may sit the race out, while sev­er­al Demo­crat­ic ones, in­clud­ing EMILY’s List, have in­dic­ated that they ex­pect to be fully in­volved. EMILY’s List en­dorsed Sink al­most im­me­di­ately after she got in­to the race. “There is no ques­tion for the wo­men and work­ing fam­il­ies of Pinel­las: Alex Sink will put them first,” EMILY’s List spokes­wo­man Marcy Stech said in a state­ment. “Dav­id Jolly em­bod­ies the worst of Wash­ing­ton and is only in it for him­self.”

That po­ten­tial Demo­crat­ic out­side-spend­ing ad­vant­age is un­pre­dict­able giv­en the large amounts of money a single group can in­ject at a mo­ment’s no­tice, but it is one reas­on Sink has been con­sidered a fa­vor­ite in the race. The next steps on both sides will cla­ri­fy those pre­dic­tions fur­ther. In the ab­sence of re­li­able pub­lic polling, third-party ex­pendit­ures may provide one of the best clues in­to how Re­pub­lic­ans view Jolly’s chances.

What We're Following See More »
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
2 days ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Source:
THE LAST ROUND OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS
Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
1 days ago
THE LATEST

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
IT’S ALL ABOUT SECOND PLACE
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.

Source:
×