Republicans David Jolly and Kathleen Peters are the main contenders in Tuesday’s FL-13 special GOP primary, but we’re already looking toward the general, where Alex Sink (D) starts as a favorite. But remember: Special elections are special, and these qualities might be hard to apply elsewhere in 2014.
— First, Sink might be an ideal candidate for a special election: She’s already known from time in statewide politics, which also gives her a fundraising edge. Peters is a freshman state rep., and Jolly (who appears to be the GOP primary favorite) was starting from scratch.
— Sink’s advantages compared to her GOP opponents have made some GOP outside groups wary of investing, which means the cash-poor GOP nominee could have a hard time defining Sink negatively in the eight weeks between primary and general. Meanwhile, pro-Sink outside groups like EMILY’s List, which takes particular pride in its special-election work, are ready to go for the Democrat.
— The final advantage for Sink: This became an Obama district during Bill Young’s (R) longtime stewardship of it. All of these factors combine to have many expecting Sink to beat Democrats’ Obamacare rap here. But such candidate-based advantages are hard to come by, and Dems need to win Romney districts to challenge GOP control of the House.
Sink isn’t a perfect candidate, but she might be perfect for this quick-draw House opportunity in Florida. But even if she does show that Obamacare isn’t automatic poison for Democrats right now, there are reasons why this special election might not translate everywhere, like Mark Critz‘s in 2010.
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