Tallahassee, FL -- June 13, 2012 --
Two Republicans will square off in Senate District 22 in south Pinellas County. Obama won the district in 2008, yet Democrats failed to even field a candidate. Strategists say a mistake was made.
“Should the Democrats have had a candidate in that seat? Absolutely,” Democratic consultant Screven Watson said.
Democrats also abandoned House district 83 on the east coast despite Obama winning the district as well.
What Democrats lack is a central, coordinated effort between the House, the Senate, and the party; and because of that, operatives on both sides of the aisle, say that Democrats are missing opportunities.
Republican Lawyer-Lobbyist Pete Dunbar counts eight races where Democrats missed the boat.
“What helps a party win is good candidate recruitment, and to drop the ball and not be engaged in recruitment in areas where you know demographically you have a chance to win, to me is a pretty big failure,” Dunbar said.
Democrats say they have less cash than Republicans, and they argue they are spending their money wisely, trying to chip away at a Republican supermajority before trying to build their own.
“It was really hard to encourage folks to expend time and money on a district that they were unsure of until late, and ultimately, unsure if it will even be the district the next time they run,” Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith said.
In the end, 28 House members face no opposition, and ten Senators go unchallenged or face only token opponents.
Ironically, while Democrats left some winnable seats unchallenged, they did file challengers in some districts with powerful incumbents and a sizable majority of voters, all in an effort to get the incumbent to spend a lot of money.