Politics is a twisted, tricky house of cards, and when someone leaves a vacancy in the deck, well, it’s game on to replace and restore stability. As such, the race was on to reestablish order in two of Florida’s state house districts – 39 and 114 – both unattended since November 2017.
Republicans are finally exhaling a collectively held breath and Democrats are celebrating a small victory today as voters gave props to both.
Why does the nation care about two state seats in Florida when the midterm Congressional battle is rapidly approaching?
Florida is a swing state. And Districts 39 and 114 are considered pivot points that take the pulse of the state’s electorate.
Republicans failed to gain the seat vacated by Daisy Baez (D-Coral Cables), but handily retained District 39, previously held by Neil Combee (R-Polk City). Combee was tapped by the Trump administration in 2017 as the state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. Baez was caught telling a whopper of a lie about her residency in the district, subsequently resigned, and pled guilty to perjury.
Winner, Winner, Zero Net Gain
Democrat Javier Fernandez edged out Republican Andrew Vargas to grab the prize in the 114th district. After tallying all votes, Fernandez netted 8,618 votes, Vargas 7,894, and intended up-setter Liz de las Cuevas, a former Republican running as an Independent, got a measly 414.
Enter Josie Tomkow, a young Republican, who at age 22, left her opponent Ricky Shirah in the dust. She won with 60% (9,891) to his 40% (6,628), keeping the 39th district a solid red.
What both races do have in common is that every Florida state district has approximately 150,000 residents, give or take a few transient snowbirds. In the 39th district, 112,866 people are listed as active voters, with 95,924 in the 114th. It seems a get out the vote campaign is in order for conservatives.
And here’s why: In the 2016 election, Republicans lost two seats, which dropped their majority from 81-38 to 79-41. In Florida, 80 members are required to override gubernatorial vetoes; therefore, they did not succeed in efforts to reclaim a veto-proof majority. And with the wolf banging on the door of the Second Amendment and Republican Governor Rick Scott reacting emotionally to the latest mass shooting in Parkland, gun rights may really be tested soon in the Sunshine State.
Good News or Bad News First?
Tomkow and Fernandez get to enjoy a six-month reign before another election in November. Tomkow, in a secure red county, will likely breeze on in once again, but efforts in district 114 and every other blue county must be amped up by the right to regain the much-needed veto authority.
This was a wake-up call for Trump and the Republicans to get busy.
In one of the most colorful of political years on record – red, blue, green, and rainbow – the last thing conservatives need is to become comfortable with purple. No, Republicans and Libertarians need to ramp up efforts as they did in 2016 to block the progression of the left and their socialistic ideologies. No resting on laurels; no laying down arms.