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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The national polls, once again, tell very different stories: Clinton leads by just one point in the IBD, Rasmussen, and LA Times tracking polls, while she shows a commanding 12 point lead in the ABC news poll and a smaller but sizable five point lead in the CNN poll. The Republican Remington Research Group released a slew of polls showing Trump up in Ohio, Nevada, and North Carolina, a tie in Florida, and Clinton leads in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia. However, an independent Siena poll shows Clinton up 7 in North Carolina, while a Monmouth poll shows Trump up one in Arizona
Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, on which Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, "Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania," where Hillary Clinton now leads. Jennifer Duffy writes that she now expects Democrats to gain five to seven seats—enough to regain control of the chamber.
"Of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him. ... History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them."
"Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump. Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans―Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother―contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. Trump is so terrible, these Republicans are essentially arguing, that tying them to him amounts to defamation."
Former Illinois GOP Congressman Aaron Schock "recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for making an excessive solicitation for a super PAC that was active in his home state of Illinois four years ago." Schock resigned from Congress after a story about his Downton Abbey-themed congressional office raised questions about how he was using taxpayer dollars.