Continuing through the new districts, here is the bulk of I-4/Central Florida. You can find Districts 1-6 here.
US House District 7: Comprised of the suburbs north and east of Orlando, including Winter Park (current home to three Members of Congress). As mentioned in Part 1, Rep. John Mica and Rep. Sandy Adams have both already announced to seek this seat, setting up a establishment powerhouse versus Tea Party darling primary.
The data shows this to be one of the most competitive seats in the state, with McCain having edged Obama 49.9% to 49.1%. Registration is a 39.4% to 35% Republican advantage. A fairly affluent and overwhelmingly (70%) white district, there is also a sizable and growing Hispanic population (17%). Scott bested Sink 50.5% to 45.6%, more a sign of Sink’s abysmal campaign and Scott’s strength than a shift in voter behavior.
This is an incredible opportunity for a challenger candidate to join the fray and take a seat the RPOF is counting on and put it in play. Nick Ruiz III, endorsed by Blue America is seeking the seat as a Democrat. Mr. Ruiz ran for the 24th district as an NPA/3rd Party candidate in 2010. He raised no money in 2010 and is on a track to raise only slightly more despite the Blue America endorsement in 2012. Ruiz is a fountain of great progressive policy, but doesn’t appear to have any understanding of campaigns, elections or politics as a whole – i$ he ever going to get it? As of yet, I am unaware of any serious Democratic candidates for this race, do you have any ideas?
US House District 8: This seat greatly resembles the old District 15 along the central Atlantic (Space) coast, and will be fairly friendly to incumbent Republican Rep. Bill Posey. Registration is 44% R, 35% D with both McCain and Scott scoring roughly 55%.
No serious Democratic challengers have emerged as of yet, but 2010 ‘some guy’ candidate Shannon Roberts is running again. She posted $30,000 raised in 2010 and finished the campaign with a small debt.
Democratic Attorney, MIT grad and President of Space Coast Tiger Bay Club David Gunter is also running.
US House District 9: South of Orlando, this seat includes pieces of 8, 15, and 24, is considered one of the two “new seats” Florida gained. Currently no Republicans are seeking this Open seat. Obama’s just over 60% and Sink’s 53% are strong indicators this will be a Democratic seat, the fact that Alan Grayson is seeking it in 2012 pretty much guarantees it.
‘Some guy’ Republican accountant Mark Oxner is challenging Grayson.
US House District 10: Primarily composed of Rep. Daniel Webster‘s 8th district with a piece of the 5th, this is Disney and the west Orlando Suburbs. Republicans hold a 40.3% to 36.8% registration advantage, McCain scored a 52% to 47% win here in 2008. 10.5% of the district is Black, 14% Hispanic – both of these numbers should rise over the course of the decade.
Webster is seeking re-election here and he will likely face a stiff challenge. Orlando Police Chief and former Social Worker Val Demings has already posted strong fundraising numbers and collected some valuable endorsements/attention.
US House District 11: North of Tampa, from the Gulf Coast up to the Ocala National Forest this is another fairly large and largely rural district. Incumbent Rich Nugent gets 59% of his old 5th CD as well as about a quarter of the old 6th CD. Republicans lead registration 42% to 37%, both McCain and Scott were in the 55% ballpark. As with the 10th CD, Obama scored about 4% better than Sink.
Nugent will seek re-election and Don Browning, a former Winter Springs City Councilor has filed to challenge him in the Republican Primary. This is territory Democrats haven’t put up a serious fight for in a long time, like the new 6th and 3rd CD’s. Given a long term commitment and quality campaigns, these numbers could be brought back in to competition.
US House District 12: Tampa’s northern suburbs, composed of the old 9th (57%) and 5th (39%). Incumbent Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis is seeking re-election in this right leaning seat. Registration is 40.1% to 34.7% in favor of the Republicans, both McCain and Scott were at 52% and again Obama outperformed Sink by 3%.
‘Some guy’ Jonathan Michael Snow has filed intent to challenge Bilirakis. Certain to be a fund raising powerhouse, Snow is a certified photo specialist at Walgreens and former substitute teacher with a BA in History.
US House District 13: This coastal district sits west of Tampa Bay and includes more than 80% of Rep. Bill Young’s old 10th district. Every cycle rumors swirl the Rep. Young will retire – eventually they will be right unless he is defeated first. First elected in 1970, Young is now 81 and the longest serving Republican in the House. This is a district that Obama won in 2008 with better than 51% of the vote and Sink edged Scott 48.5% to 46.6% in 2010.
Young turned back a challenge from Democratic State Senator Charlie Justice in 2010.
Vultures are circling for this seat, with several filings and a bunch of rumors. Check back for more information as this one evolves. This seat should be a top target for Democrats with the new lines and Obama on the ballot again.
US House District 14: Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor’s Tampa Bay seat, with better than 50% Democratic registration, 65% Obama performance and 61% Sink performance – this is a solid D hold barring a major catastrophe/scandal shifting the landscape.
A few ‘some guys’ have filed for the Republican race to get slaughtered.
US House District 15: This district is a block of land surrounding I-4 between the populations of Tampa and Orlando, about half of the district was Republican Rep. Dennis Ross’s 12th district, with ~30% coming from the 9th district. Democrats hold a slight registration advantage, very slight at 39% to 38.6%. McCain and Scott both won the seat with 53% and 52.5% respectively.
This district includes Alex Sink’s hometown of Thonotasassa, it would be interesting to see if she could compete for this seat with a significantly better campaign than she ran for Governor. No doubt she could raise the money, but finding a message that resonates and demonstrating the capacity to connect with the voters remains to be seen. It would also require her to listen to people who actually understand elections, so they can explain to her that running away from the President will not help her (he outperformed her in this seat as well).
I don’t expect Sink to give serious consideration to running and her recent statements committing to building a non-partisan think tank to find policy solutions for Florida indicate she wishes to stay relevant while not actually understanding what the problems are.
Summary of the I-4 Corridor Districts: Looking at this package of seats, 7 through 15, Democrats currently hold 1 (14) and 1 seat is ‘new’ (9), but likely to be picked up by the Democrats. Over the next 2-3 cycles, we could see gains in 7, 10, and 13. I’m also intrigued by 15, where the numbers look appealing and the right candidate could knock out a weak incumbent.
If you are a progressive Democratic candidate already filed or considering running for US House, please contact us ASAP.