Q&A – How Many Congressional Seats Might Flip in Florida?

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Q&A – How Many Congressional Seats Might Flip in Florida?

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

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Today’s entry: I heard you say races Dems won by 18 points previously may flip this year. How many races in Florida might flip if that turns out to be true?

Bottom Line: Right, I first spoke to this train of thought recently, when I said this: Florida’s Democrats enter 2022 in the worst position they’ve ever been in. This is on back of a one-two-three punch of Republicans holding a voter registration advantage over Democrats for the first time in history, a lead which only grew into year end, only 23% of Americans approving of Congress and Joe Biden’s approval rating reaching a paltry 36% in Florida. On back of that basis, the logic for races previously won by Democrats by 18-points potentially being in play is based on this... Historically the President’s party is at a nine-point disadvantage if they also control Congress heading into the midterms. That’s before you factor the president’s approval rating into the mix. Any approval rating below 45% adds to the advantage of the opposition party. If the midterms were today any race won by a Democrat in 2020 by up to nine points would likely flip. Any race won by a Democrat up to 18-points would potentially be in play.

When looking at 2022 implications, they’re all squarely in the House. With Republican Marco Rubio holding the Senate seat up for election this year, he’s obviously well positioned to win re-election. There are currently 11 Democrats serving in Congress – if we include the just elected Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick in the mix. I’ll break these out into three categories, those who won in 2020 by margins of over 18%, those who won by between 9%–18% and those who won by fewer than 9%.

The over 18% group which most likely remain safe this cycle:

  • Al Lawson
  • *Winner of District 10 Democrat primary (currently held by Val Demmings)
  • Kathy Castor
  • Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick
  • Lois Frankel
  • Frederica Wilson

Those who won with a margin between 9% to 18%:

  • *Winner of District 7 Democrat primary (currently held by Stephanie Murphy)
  • Darren Soto
  • Ted Deutch
  • Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

Those who won with a margin under 9%:

  • *Winner of District 13 Democrat primary (currently held by Charlie Crist)

Breaking these races out highlights a few meaningful points. First, three of Florida’s eleven Congressional Democrats are vacating their posts this cycle. Two of the three in vulnerable districts. That will only serve to make those seats more challenging for Democrats to hold. Second, only six Florida Democrats can be considered safe this cycle given the hostile conditions for Congressional Democrats. Third, the wildcard of redistricting. I’ll come back to that point in a moment. Here’s the overall lay of the land based on current conditions.

  • 1 likely GOP pickup in District 13
  • 4 potential toss-ups

With four Democrats holding seats that could be in play this fall, and with redistricting yet to be settled, a little rearranging in the four in-play districts could play a factor in eventual outcomes this fall. Two of the in-play districts are in Central Florida with two in South Florida. Aside from where the legislature draws in the new Congressional district being gained by Florida this cycle, those four existing districts are the ones to watch. If the elections were held today Florida would likely send at least two, and possibly as many as six, additional Republicans to Congress next year. To be continued...

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