Editor’s Note: With so much heat rather than light in the media world today, Liberty Nation presents the following series on the crucial midterm elections that will be taking place. These elections will likely determine the course of the Trump presidency and as such should be looked at with in-depth analysis. Thus, each week LN author Graham Noble will be giving our readers a state-by-state look at the upcoming elections. This week, he covers Florida.
Florida has always been one of the crucial states in presidential elections. Capturing its 29 electoral votes is a significant step on the road to the White House. The state has voted for the eventual winner in 18 of the last 20 presidential contests. The highly-contested 2000 election came down to recounts in Florida after candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush split the state’s votes. The last five elections have been close in Florida, with the largest margin of victory, in 2004, going to incumbent George W. Bush, who took the state with 53.1% of the vote to challenger John Kerry’s 47.1%. In 2016, President Donald Trump carried Florida with 49%. Hillary Clinton got 47.8%.
Florida is represented in the United States Senate by Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Bill Nelson. Rubio’s current term ends in January 2023 but Nelson will be running for re-election in November. Although several Republicans have registered to face off in a primary to select a challenger to Nelson, Current Florida Governor Rick Scott is considering a run for the seat. Were the Governor, now serving his second term in office, throw his hat in the ring for the Senate, it is unlikely he would face a serious primary challenge. Polling is tight between Nelson and Scott, who has the support of President Trump.
Nelson holds a slight edge – between one and four percentage points – but, as 2016 taught us, polls should not be relied upon too heavily. Were Scott to enter the race, many are predicting that it could turn into one of the most expensive Senate elections ever. Whoever runs against Nelson, his seat is considered a toss-up. This year, in particular, every Senate race is vital for both parties as the Republican majority is currently paper-thin.
Florida has 27 congressional districts and is represented in the House by 16 Republicans and 11 Democrats. Most of these seats are considered safe for their respective parties but there are a couple of races that will be worth watching. Republican Ron DeSantis, who represents the state’s 6th district, will not be seeking re-election in 2018. The Republicans are widely expected to hold onto this seat, however.
Florida’s 27th district is represented by Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Born in Cuba, Ros-Lehtinen has been in Congress since 1988, although she was first elected to represent the 18th district. She has announced that she will not run for re-election in November and her district, which went decisively for Clinton in 2016, is considered a likely pick-up for Democrats.
Another test for Republicans will be the 26th district at the state’s southern tip. This district stretches from the south part of Miami to Key West. Carlos Curbelo, who has represented the district since 2015, faces a serious challenge from Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in a heavily Democratic district. Another race to watch in Florida will be the 7th District where Democrat Stephanie Murphy will be mounting her first re-election bid.
Democrats continue to assume a blue wave is coming in November and they would certainly hope to hold their Senate seat in Florida and pick up an additional three or four House seats. A rapidly improving economy may confound them in many rust-belt, midwestern and even east coast states. Florida may be no exception. Midterm Election Watch predicts the Republicans flip Bill Nelson’s Senate seat and the Democrats pick up two House seats in Florida.
Join us next week as our series focuses on House and Senate Races in Georgia, Hawaii, and Idaho.