Florida key to Democrats taking control of the US House

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If there is any chance for Democrats to win a majority in the U.S. House, it is resting with Florida.

It is true that the big talk during the statewide party conference in Orlando this weekend is on the 2014 governor’s race. But there is also growing interest that – with the right candidates — Democrats can take a minimum of two U.S. House seats in the state next year.

With 27 House seats statewide, two (or so) may not seem like a big deal, writes Jeremy Wallace in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, but without that momentum, national Democrats have no chance of retaking Congress. This means they need to win two seats (at a minimum) as well as keeping three vulnerable districts.

Two months ago, the task of fielding candidates seemed daunting. Now, with the post-shutdown dysfunction within the GOP, there seems to be more confidence.

The districts of the late Rep. Bill Young in Pinellas County and Rep. Steve Southerland in North Florida, both formerly unattainable to Democrats, lately seem to be more in reach.

Vulnerable districts, like that of Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy in Florida’s 18th Congressional District, also look a little safer.

The government shutdown may have hurt Republicans in various parts of the country, Webster notes, but it might be enough to provide a strong wave of Democratic contenders to keep Republicans at bay.

That may be changing, especially with the changing Florida demographics, and Southerland’s CD 2 and Young’s CD 13 may just be the bellwether that will extend the Democratic playing field. 

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.