Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

West Out; Sanford In

In House on January 17, 2013 at 11:06 am

FL-18

Former Rep. Allen West (R-FL), just after joining Internet-based PJ Media as a political pundit, says he will not seek a re-match with Rep. Patrick Murphy (R-FL-18) next year.

West originally was elected in Florida’s 22nd District, defeating two-term incumbent Ron Klein (D) in 2010. Redistricting made the 22nd CD heavily Democratic, as evidenced by Rep. Lois Frankel’s (D) win over Republican Adam Hasner (R), despite a strong campaign from the latter. Instead of staying in the Palm Beach seat, West bolted north to run in the open 18th District, a seat more hospitable to Republicans but containing only about one-third of his original voters. West failed to win a second term in a tight outcome.

Look for the GOP to make the 18th a heavy Republican target, but with a new candidate. The name being mentioned most often is that of former state Rep. Joe Negron, who ran an almost impossible race in 2006. When Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL-16) resigned his seat in disgrace, Negron was chosen as the GOP replacement nominee but, under a Florida election law quirk, voters still had to vote for Foley in order to support him since the change in nominees came after the ballots were printed. Needless to say, Negron failed to overcome this obstacle despite a valiant campaign effort, getting almost 48 percent of the vote. Mitt Romney carried the new 18th against Pres. Barack Obama by a 51.7 – 47.6 percent margin despite losing statewide.

SC-1

Former Gov. Mark Sanford (R) has made it official. He will again become a congressional candidate, this time in the special election to succeed Sen. Tim Scott (R) in South Carolina’s 1st CD. Sanford represented a very different 1st District from 1995-2001, though it does retain a great deal of the Charleston metropolitan area.

The announcement comes two days after the former governor’s ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, said she would not run for the seat.

Though Sanford obviously has the best name identification in what is expected to be a large field of Republican candidates, he cannot be considered the favorite. Expect state Rep. Chip Limehouse and state Sen. Larry Grooms to be among the strongest contenders.

Though Mr. Sanford, despite ending his second term in office with the highly publicized revelation that he was engaged in an international extra-marital affair, might still have the political wherewithal to make it through the March 19 primary to secure one of two positions in the April 2 run-off, it is in this latter vote where he will likely stumble. Without winning the primary election, it would be very difficult for the former governor to then capture a majority before the run-off electorate. So, Sanford’s political comeback must be considered an uphill struggle.

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