Post Florida-13, White House tackles midterm election concerns
March 13th, 2014
05:36 PM ET
8 months ago

Post Florida-13, White House tackles midterm election concerns

Washington (CNN) - In the wake of this week's GOP victory in a much watched special congressional election, a senior White House official acknowledged the need to rev up voter turnout.

The comments were part of a Thursday post-game analysis following Tuesday's Democratic loss in a special election to fill a vacant seat in Florida's 13th Congressional district.

National Republicans framed the election as a referendum on Obamacare, and some pundits called the contest a possible test of how President Barack Obama's policies and approval rating could resonate heading into November's midterm elections.

Despite all the scrutiny and importance heaped on the race, and the massive infusion of outside money, Democratic voters didn't come out in impressive numbers, while many Republicans were motivated by opposition to the Affordable Care Act. That resulted in Republican candidate David Jolly narrowly edging out Democrat Alex Sink. Jolly will now fill out the final nine and a half months of the term of his former boss, longtime Republican Rep. Bill Young, who died in October.

When asked exactly how the President will be "deployed" around the nation ahead of the midterms, administration officials said fundraising and turnout will be key, and described Obama as one of the greatest turnout-motivating politicians they've ever seen.

There's traditionally a large drop-off in voter participation during midterm election cycles, which generally favors the GOP over Democrats. Still, White House officials said they are 100% confident that had the Florida special election happened this November, Sink would have won.

The administration's other two main concerns: Getting the message out that keeping the Senate is critical, thereby, again, motivating voters; and beating what they called the hard lesson learned in 2010: that Republicans have been better at getting resources to local elections.

Those cannot be ignored, officials said, as public policy ends up being deeply affected by who is governor of a state versus who controls the legislature. The officials added that Democrats need to spread more wealth and time out beyond the biggest races.

The focus, of course, will be firmly on economic issues. The officials said the administration is planning a number of executive actions in coming weeks, similar to Thursday's Presidential order to the Department of Labor to get started on expanding overtime protection to far more salaried workers in America.

The officials said the message will remain that the President and Democrats want to strengthen the middle class, while Republicans believe in prosperity for a few in the hopes that it will trickle down.

They will ask of political opponents, on a fundamental level, things like: do you believe in a minimum wage, or not? Should there be one? And if so, then why would it not keep up with inflation?

On these matters tied to the state of the economy going forward, administration officials said Republican voters are split, while Democrats are unified. They said Democrats just need to do something about it, and vote.


Filed under: 2014 • Democrats • Obamacare • White House
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Bunch retired community that live off of SS, Medicare, GI money. It should not be an example. Just tell all to vote, be vigorous. GOP lose like a hell and crazy.

    March 13, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  2. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Don't worry, the dems will come out in droves for the REAL midterms in November . Time to take out the GOP TRASH in November and we can't wait!!!!!!

    March 13, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. Borderless

    Betting he'll just throw money at the problem. After all, it's our money, not his.

    March 13, 2014 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the majority repub/tea bag members

    This is easy: Get the word out about:

    1. The gop/tea bags' FAILED POLICIES
    2. The government shutdown they caused
    3. How they are championing laws that suppress voting and restrict a woman's right to choose
    4. How they cut food stamps to millions of Americans in a time of need.
    5. How the only job they've cared about is trying to make President Obama fail, regardless of the consequences to our nation.

    The fox echo chamber and all the RWNJ radio shows and websites – not to mention the gop/tea bag spokespeople who constantly compare President Obama to Hitler – must be countered with FACTS. Over and over and over again – get the word out!!!!

    March 13, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. Liz the First

    What the mid-terms need to be a referendum on is which party has been committing treason for the past almost 6 years, throwing the country under a bus to hurt our president. their strategy was to make Obama fail by making the country fail in the hope that Americans would be too stupid to see who was behind the failure to make a speedy recovery from the Great Recession. God help us if their strategy works and any repugs keep their seats in November. Obamacare is good for this country and the Dems need to work to create a stronger message than the repugs' lies on this and a whole lot of other issues. and we Dems need to get out in overwhelming numbers in Nov. and make sure this treasonous strategy fails.

    March 13, 2014 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  6. Gunderson

    Eh, Well,
    Still doing everything but what's needed, eh? I swear that boy is going to get blood out of a Turnip yet. Then we can call him the Miracle Worker! Eureka !!.

    March 13, 2014 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  7. Toomuch

    " turnout will be key, and described Obama as one of the greatest turnout-motivating politicians they've ever seen."

    They need to tell this to the Democrat Reps and Senators that will not travel and show up at events with Obama.. LOL

    March 13, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  8. croaton999

    Message to Democrats....You're going down in November.

    March 14, 2014 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  9. Marie MD

    Oh please CNN, the 13th district was repug before. It's full of seniors who are too demented to understand that their governor and their reps don't have their best interest at heart. Couple that with the money from the koch brothers and you have the perfect storm in Florida.
    The gunsshine state seniors needs to get a life not just go there to die.

    March 14, 2014 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  10. Jamal

    I've been a registered Dem for more than 30 years. I'm voting Repub because far left Dems have failed to represent my beliefs and work ethic. I believe many others feel betrayed also.

    March 14, 2014 07:29 am at 7:29 am |