April 14th, 2010
04:34 PM ET
8 years ago

Are Florida-19's results a good political indicator?

Democrat Ted Deutch easily defeated his Republican opponent Tuesday night in a Florida special election.

Democrat Ted Deutch easily defeated his Republican opponent Tuesday night in a Florida special election.

(CNN) - Call it the race that Washington ignored, until now.

National Democrats are celebrating the results of Tuesday's special election in Florida's 19th Congressional District, which Democratic State Sen. Ted Deutch won handily. According to unofficial results from the Florida Secretary of State's office, Deutch won 62 percent of the vote, with Republican candidate Ed Lynch grabbing 35 percent and the remaining three percent going to third-party candidates.

The special election was held to fill the seat of former nine-term Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler, who stepped down at the beginning of the year to lead a think tank focusing on issues facing the Middle East. The contest was the first federal election to be held since congressional passage of the Democrats health care plans. Lynch said he wanted to repeal the new law and made health care a big issue in his campaign, in a district with a high proportion of senior voters. Deutch supported the new legislation. There was some talk that Republicans were hoping to pull off an upset similar to Scott Brown's January victory in the Massachusetts special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Both the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out emails Wednesday touting the political implications of their special election victory and what it means for the larger battle over health care.

But are Tuesday's results a good indicator of the popularity of the new health care law or of the current political climate?

Neither the DCCC nor the National Republican Congressional Committee spent much time or money on the contest. The district, which stretches from northern Broward County into Palm Beach County just miles inland from Florida's Atlantic coastline, is heavily Democratic, and Deutch dramatically outraised Lynch.

"I don't think we can draw broad conclusions from Florida 19 because neither national party got involved. Lynch tried to make health care the focus of the race, but he didn't have the resources, the party backing, and was essentially out on an island by himself," says Nathan Gonzales, political editor for the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report.

"In Florida 19, it's no surprise that a Democrat won a heavily-Democratic district. We finally got a yawner in an otherwise exciting election cycle. This just proves that Republicans aren't going to win 435 House seats in November," adds Gonzales.

The next special election for a vacant House seat is April 27, when voters in Georgia's ninth district will cast ballots to replace former Republican Rep. Nathan Deal, who is running for governor. But the GOP is expected to keep the seat in a district they dominate.

But no fears, two better tests lay ahead. The Democrats will be defending two congressional seats in special elections next month in Pennsylvania-12, to fill the seat of the late Rep. Jack Murtha, and Hawaii-1, to replace former Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who stepped down to run for governor.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: 2010 • Florida
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. commonlogic

    Dems and libs being excited about this win is like Dolphin fans getting excited about the Dolphins beating some local high school team.

    April 14, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  2. Marc

    Did the guy made the same (stupid) mistakes that could have hindered his chances like some democrat candidates in the past elections of the current presidency did?
    The district is in fact heavily democrat, but then why did some Republicans/Tea Partiers claimed that their candidate would win and now that he lost tehy are trying to make it (the election of the democrat) a NO-STORY?

    April 14, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  3. Jesus(the Zombie version)

    Awwwwww, looks like this is a national referendum on HCR, right repubs?

    Just like in January, right repubs?

    Just like the election of Scott Brown, right repubs?

    Hello? Oh I forgot all the repubs are busy putting a negative spin on the article outlining that pork spending declined last year.

    I'm sure they'll give credit where credit is due. Now let's take a look and see who spends the most....uh oh, repubs, get ready to defend yourselves again 😦

    April 14, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  4. Mary Kay

    I agree: a Democrat winning a seat from another Democrat cannot be considered "a big deal". However, it is A BIG DEAL if the Republican plan to flip the House and the Senate in November.

    April 14, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. commonlogic

    All of you dems and libs excited about this win need to read again what Nathan Gonzales of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report said towards the end of the story (in the 3r and 4th to the last paragraphs) using words like: "no surprice" "a yawner" and says "This just proves that Republicans aren't going to win 435 House seats in November," adds Gonzales." Get it? 435 seats ... or ALL THE SEATS even those not up for a vote. In other words, Republicans are likely to win a bunch a seats and probably the 40 or more needed to gain control ... just not 435 seats. LOL.

    April 14, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  6. AR

    Crist has no chance of winning.

    April 14, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. Tiered of Hate Monger/ Fear Spreader/Lair Tea Bagger (GOP)

    While in usual circumstances Democrats winning big in a major Democretic Majority district would have not been a big deal, BUT THIS IS NOT A USUAL CIRCUMSTANCES. As the GOP/Tea Party made this a big deal announcing this election as referendum against New Health Care Bill. Now they are trying to play it down!

    What more can you expect from bunch of Hippocrates.

    April 14, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  8. HenryIV

    Never been to a Tea Party rally. Never had a pollster call me. Come November my vote will count!
    DFL all the way!

    April 14, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  9. AJ in Florida

    I live in the 19, I can tell you that the retirees have had they ears ringing about how this healthcare bill was equivalent to being on the right track for slaughter.


    April 14, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  10. Marc

    My bad. When its 'would' what I really meant was 'was going to'.

    April 14, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. FactCheck

    Nothing to see here..............


    That must be the new motto for the Republican Party. Call us back when you guys have actually done something (other than destroy the economy and give extensive cuts to non-tax payers like Exxon).

    April 14, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. Sean

    I don't think this is a clear indicator of what's to come in November given all the unique contributing factors to the outcome of this specific election, but I am happy with the outcome. As a moderate, registered independent, I've felt absolutely no connection with the Republican party since the 2008 election – especially once Palin got involved. And their strategy of "no" since then has done nothing but offend me. So I really don't want to see their juvenile, destructive, dishonest, fear-mongering strategies pay off with election wins.

    April 14, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. Jenn, Philadelphia

    So, Virginia, Massachusetts and New Jersey state-wide elections weren't omens about how people in the country feel, but a Congressional district in Florida is? The Democrats have an interesting way of reading things. Sorry, but 1 out of 4 is not a great record.

    April 14, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. The Voice

    Go Dems!!

    In November we will shock the nations again and the Dems will gain seats. The fearmongering is not working. The lies about healthcare will not work. Socialism accusations is not working.

    Only the smart know the Republicans will ruin this country if they happen to take over. Which will not happen anytime soon!!

    Go Dems! 2010!

    April 14, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |

    WHAT?? the dems keep a seat in a dem district??????? soooo????

    April 14, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  16. Michele

    I voe the spin from the right. When Brown won in 'a heavily Democratic district' it was Armageddon for Democrats. When Deutsch, a GAY Democrat wins the votes of all those seniors who are supposed to be terrified by this health care law, they yawn. That's OK, keep up your whining and your calls to arms. We'll see in November who casts the most votes. If the stock market continues to climb, and people get back to work, Democrats will take even more seats. You see, the President is NOT a socialist, his work for all Americans is paying off, and too bad for you, we will not be attacked this year. And we'll regain seats without threatening death to opposing candidates or showing up in public with laoded guns.

    April 14, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  17. pbc

    I am a huge democrat, I live in the district next fl-19 and am a family friend of ted but I wouldnt look too much into this race. This is as safe a dem district as you can possibly find in this country.

    April 14, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  18. nickc1969

    Just like VA, NJ, MA, and CA-10, this is another race where the Republican candidate gained about 20-25% compared to the 2008 race's margin or to McCain's margin of loss to Obama in the same state. The trend was upheld. Repubs won't win districts like this one or Pelosi's, but any Dem representative who won by less than 20 points in 2008 is running scared. Independents who voted 2:1 for Obama are voting 2:1 against him now, by proxy.

    April 14, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  19. CBR

    In this case the Democrats nominated a strong candidate. Unfortunately, Massachusetts Democrats did not. Sen Brown owes his election in part because he faced a candidate who brought a lot of baggage to the race.
    Martha Coakley just was not the candidate for the job. She was touted by women's groups who really did not know her. There were men who should have had the nomination before her.

    April 14, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  20. JOY

    Most of the people who didn't vote turned out to be vicyims of misinformation. If and when people learn and fully understand what this administration is about they would tell the Republicans they are ministers of confusion . I hope to see more support for the health Reform bill , people do need help with their illnesses and medication bills .

    April 14, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. Jewel

    CNN...why wasn't this all over the news? I thought Americans were going to show their disapproval of the health reform bill with their votes. I guess "your" polls are "your" polls and not polls of the people.

    April 14, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  22. tess

    probably the most liberal, democratic area short of new york and they are touting a democratic win! love the fact that they haven't got the mood of the american people yet and will continue to lose independents and the dems who are sick of their arrogance!!! bring it on – 2010-----

    April 14, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  23. Yeti

    acorn must have been there.

    April 14, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  24. Ryan

    Yes GOP. Run on the platform that big banks need to not be regulated and that we deserve expensive healthcare that can deny us coverage and credit cards that can rake us over the coals.....run with that ball and let me know how that works out for ya.

    You betcha!

    April 14, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  25. PacificView

    Congressional elections are mostly about local issues and the candidates themselves. This is mostly ignored by the media because it takes to much work to focus on each race. The national parties tend to ignore this too in order to raise more money.

    April 14, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
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