Florida 13 & the Menorah in the Ballot Box

Yesterday to the surprise of an awful lot of people, including me, David Jolly defeated Alex Sink to win a special election in FL-13.

If there was ever a race where the Democrats should have been able to pull off a win it was this one. Consider:

1. Barack Obama carried this district

2. Alex Sink wasn’t in congress to vote for Obamacare

3. A libertarian candidate was in the race and took 5% of the vote

4. The GOP candidate was a lobbyist

PPP had this race with the Democrat up 3, Morning Joe devoted three long segments to it (one of them repeated) constantly referring to the GOP candidate as weak , and in a year when the GOP is told to abandon social issues Jolly was pro-life and was hammered on Social Security the third rail of politics.

Even more incredible contrary to what every consultant in the country has been saying Jolly didn’t worry about crossover voters in a swing District while Sink did:

Ask Alex Sink. Her campaign did a great job of messaging to independents and crossover voters. It made sense. It’s a swing district. But the Jolly campaign focused more heavily on Republicans and a Republican message.

Yet when the dust had settled Jolly had pulled off the win.

The National Journal sees trouble ahead for the left:

this race in a bellwether Florida district that both parties aggressively contested comes as close as possible to a November test run for both parties. Democrats worked to clear the field for Sink, an unsuccessful 2010 gubernatorial nominee, while Republicans missed out on their leading recruits, settling for Jolly, a lobbyist who once worked for Rep. Bill Young, the late congressman whose 13th District vacancy Jolly will fill. Sink outspent Jolly, but the Republican was able to close the financial gap with the help of outside groups. All told, Democrats held a $5.4 million to $4.5 million spending advantage.

The results are a clear warning sign to Senate Democrats, whose majority is threatened thanks to a Republican-friendly map and a national environment that’s tilted in the GOP’s favor.

That may in fact be the case.  I’d like it to be so, but it hit me there is one issue that might have played a role that nobody is talking about:


If you take a peek at the Jewish Virtual library Florida’s cooperation with the state of Israel is huge Pinellas county is part of the UJA partnership with Hadera-Eiron area of Israel.  Sarasota, Just south in the heart of the 13th district is According to a daily beast the 20th most Jewish city in the country and has Tel Mond as a sister city. The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee is quite active


…and in 2011 pledged:


“But DaTechGuy”, you might say, “So what? A lot of American Jews who support Israel are Democrats including DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Why would a strong Jewish population Fl-13 race help the GOP?”

That’s a fair point.  To get Jewish voters in FL-13 to suddenly decide to stay home or vote republican would take an event of colossal significance to the Jewish voting base, like perhaps this:

The US State Department affirmed on Friday that the US recognizes Israel as a “Jewish state” but that this is not a precondition in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The statement was in response to questions regarding the department’s position on comments made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the Palestinian Authority must recognize Israel as a Jewish state, something that its chairman, President Mahmoud Abbas, said that he was unwilling to do.

being said by the Obama administration in a Palestinian newspaper.

A couple of days ago, State Department Jen Psaki conducted an interview with al-Quds, a Palestinian newspaper and stated, “There is no need for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”

It could be that Psaki was freelancing. But it is far more likely that Psaki’s statement represents a shift in Obama Administration policy. In which case, either Obama or Kerry (possibly both) will tell Israel to drop its demand that the PA recognize it as a Jewish state.

It’s true that Alex Sink’s once formidable lead had already been dropping, and it’s also true that her flub on Immigration likely didn’t sit well with some Spanish voters.

But just four days ago Politico was reporting the National GOP was turning on their candidate:

Over the past week, a half-dozen Washington Republicans have described Jolly’s campaign against Democrat Alex Sink as a Keystone Cops operation, marked by inept fundraising, top advisers stationed hundreds of miles away from the district in the state capital and the poor optics of a just-divorced, 41-year-old candidate accompanied on the campaign trail by a girlfriend 14 years his junior.

That story was dated March 7th 2014 two days before Jewish voters North of in Sarasota picked up their newspapers and read about President Obama’s state department deciding the Palestinian Authority didn’t have to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Just a reminder. Sink lost to Jolly by only 1.9%.

Update: The district apparently changed shape in January 2013 moving just north of Sarasota but just west of Tampa the 25th most Jewish city in the US and sister city to Ashdod Israel.

Maybe it’s just me but a district with the 20th most Jewish city in the US just south of it and the 25th most Jewish city to the west just might be following the developments at state vis a vis Israel.


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