SPOTLIGHT

Sink and Swim

MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 01: Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink as she visits the Primary Learning Center and iPrep Academy after unveiling her plans for education on September 1, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Sink is facing off against her Republican opponent Rick Scott.
National Journal
Scott Bland
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Scott Bland
Jan. 14, 2014, 6:45 a.m.

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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