“Rep.-elect David Jolly” (R) will take Dems some time getting used to, but that’s the reality after he defeated Alex Sink (D) by almost 2 points in the FL-13 special Tuesday night. Health care played an important role, as it seems destined to do in many more high-profile races this year. But it wasn’t the only factor in play.
— President Obama won FL-13 twice, but in many ways it’s not a typical “Obama district.” He narrowly won it twice, but its demographic makeup is a lot different than other Dem-leaning seats. In particular, it is older and whiter than many Obama districts: Whites over 45 comprise 44% of the population there, compared to 29% nationally. Compared to other Florida districts, there aren’t many Hispanics there.
— Without exit polls, we don’t know how different groups voted. (Some Dems involved said Sink was competitive with older voters.) But it wasn’t enough, and older whites have proven most hostile to Obamacare — and Obamacare was the main thrust of the GOP’s anti-Sink campaign. Don’t look now, but older whites also play outsized roles in the important red-state Senate races this year, including contests in West Virginia, Montana, North Carolina and Arkansas.
— Sink pollster Geoff Garin argued that Obamacare actually helped Sink among independents, but it couldn’t overcome Democrats’ major turnout disadvantage compared to Republicans. Obamacare is a big motivator for the type of voters already more likely to turn out in non-presidential elections, and while DCCC chair Steve Israel said Wednesday that Dems were able to bend turnout toward them a bit, it clearly wasn’t enough. Special election turnout is far worse than midterm turnout, but it’s still a symptom of Democratic GOTV issues in non-presidential scenarios. (This morning, the DSCC said it points to the importance of their big field project for this fall.)
One last item to ponder here: Just in case anyone was unsure about what outside money can do these days, consider that Sink outspent Jolly around 4-1 on TV, but the GOP portion of $9 million in outside spending helped even things up.
— Scott Bland
What We're Following See More »
Just after President Obama finished his address to the DNC, Hillary Clinton walked out on stage to join him, so the better could share a few embraces, wave to the crowd—and let the cameras capture all the unity for posterity.
In a speech that began a bit like a State of the Union address, President Obama said the "country is stronger and more prosperous than it was" when he took office eight years ago. He then talked of battling Hillary Clinton for the nomination in 2008, and discovering her "unbelievable work ethic," before saying that no one—"not me, not Bill"—has ever been more qualified to be president. When his first mention of Donald Trump drew boos, he quickly admonished the crowd: "Don't boo. Vote." He then added that Trump is "not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either."
Tim Kaine introduced himself to the nation tonight, devoting roughly the first half of his speech to his own story (peppered with a little of his fluent Spanish) before pivoting to Hillary Clinton—and her opponent. "Hillary Clinton has a passion for children and families," he said. "Donald Trump has a passion, too: himself." His most personal line came after noting that his son Nat just deployed with his Marine battalion. "I trust Hillary Clinton with our son's life," he said.
Michael Bloomberg said he wasn't appearing to endorse any party or agenda. He was merely there to support Hillary Clinton. "I don't believe that either party has a monopoly on good ideas or strong leadership," he said, before enumerating how he disagreed with both the GOP and his audience in Philadelphia. "Too many Republicans wrongly blame immigrants for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on climate change and gun violence," he said. "Meanwhile, many Democrats wrongly blame the private sector for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on education reform and deficit reduction." Calling Donald Trump a "dangerous demagogue," he said, "I'm a New Yorker, and a know a con when I see one."
Vice President Biden tonight called President Obama "one of the finest presidents we have ever had" before launching into a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton. "Everybody knows she's smart. Everybody knows she's tough. But I know what she's passionate about," he said. "There's only one person in this race who will help you. ... It's not just who she is; it's her life story." But he paused to train some fire on her opponent "That's not Donald Trump's story," he said. "His cynicism is unbounded. ... No major party nominee in the history of this country has ever known less."