The candidates are in place for the November congressional races and both the Democratic and Republican parties say they are poised for big wins.
“When you combine the national climate towards Democrats thanks to President Obama’s toxic agenda with the lackluster top of the ticket draw of Charlie Crist, Republicans are in a place to expand the GOP majority in November,” Andrea Bozek, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee wrote in a primary-night memo.
Florida’s congressional delegation is split 17 Republicans and 10 Democrats and national observers like the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report view three races as toss-ups.
“Democrats are entering Florida’s general election season on offense in both challenger and incumbent races, setting the stage for victories in November from the Keys to Panama City,” Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wrote in her primary-night memo.
The two memos indicate the parties’ plans of attack in three congressional races, the 2nd, 18th and 26th districts. The Republicans intend to shout Obamacare while Democrats will counter with special-interest deal making.
Gwen Graham is challenging incumbent Congressman Steve Southerland in the 2nd Congressional District. The GOP will paint her as a liberal and supporter of Obamacare.
“Up until this week Gwen has been able to fly under the radar and not address her previous work for both John Kerry and Howard Dean,” Bozek wrote, while also noting that Graham had been “caught on camera” agreeing that Obamacare was a good thing.
The Democrats intend to keep focus on what they call a developing scandal involving Southerland and sugar lobbyists. Bittner’s memos list editorials criticizing Southerland for dodging questions about a sugar-backed trip to a Texas hunting ranch and his subsequent decision to proposes a sugar-industry bill that targeted water regulations.
Democrats also intend to hang a special interests label on state Rep. Carl Domino, who is challenging Congressman Patrick Murphy in the 18th district.
“Carl Domino, a Tallahassee politician with a record of prioritizing himself and his special interest backs over Florida’s families,” Bitner wrote.
“We fully expect the same kind of shadowy special interests that Domino looked out for in Tallahassee will do all they can to prop him up in the fall,” Bitner concluded.
The Cook and Rothenberg political reports favor Murphy to hold the seat.
Republicans consider Murphy a top target and will remind voters that he voted against repealing Obamacare and for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.
The two parties do find common ground in one congressional race. In District 26 both parties claim the opponent is too scandal-ridden to represent Florida.
Congressman Joe Garcia is finishing his first term, which was marked by an absentee voter scandal that cost two of his staffers their jobs.
“Not only is Garcia still under investigation for the voter fraud scheme,” wrote Bozek. “But his 2010 campaign is also under federal investigation thanks to a possible straw candidate plot.”
Garcia is being challenged by Carlos Curbelo, a Miami-Dade School Board member who runs a public relations firm and has been hounded the past two weeks about possible conflicts of interest between his clients and his duties as a school board member
“Carlos Curbelo has proven he’s looking out for no one but his paying lobbying clients, his partisan allies in Washington and his own political ambitions,” Steve Israel, chair of the DCCC, said in a prepared statement. “From pandering to the far right-wing to refusing to disclose his lobbying clients, Carlos Curbelo represents exactly the sort of self-interested and dysfunctional politics South Floridians are rejecting from this Republican Congress.”
Democrats zeroed in on Curbelo as Garcia’s likely challenger after a federal prosecutor named former Rep. David Rivera as a target in an investigation of campaign finance violations. Curbelo received 47 percent of the vote in a primary with five candidates. He raised $1.3 million for the campaign, more than all of his opponents combined.