What Blue Wave? Dems Losing Ground In Miami Congressional Race
That right there is a picture of 77 year old Donna Shalala. For some reason, Democrats in Florida congressional district 27 nominated her out of a field of five candidates.
District 27 has been represented by Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who previously held District 18 before the 27th district was created. Ros-Lehtinen is retiring. The democrats hold a registration edge in the district. Hillary won the district by 20 points over Trump in 2016. 71% of the voters are Hispanic. And it’s square in the middle of the metropolitan area of Miami.
District 27 was in the crosshairs for the DNC, who figured they would surely pick up the seat.
Ordinarily, a candidate with the background of Shalala, who was Secretary Of Health & Human Services under President Clinton, would be a shoe-in under these circumstances. She was even the designated survivor for Clinton’s 1996 State Of The Union address.
The latest polls have Republican nominee Maria Salazar leading by 9 points. This is despite the fact that Shalala has outraised and outspent Salazar $2,000,000 to $600,000.
Democrats exulted when U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced last year she was retiring. Because the Republican congresswoman’s district leans Democratic, one prominent Washington election watcher immediately labeled the race “lean Democratic.”
On the heels of two internal polls Wednesday that showed Democratic nominee Donna Shalala either losing or nearly tied with GOP opponent Maria Elvira Salazar, the Washington non-partisan election handicapper, the Cook Political Report, moved the needle back to the middle to “toss-up.”
David Wasserman, who tracks House races for Cook and last week suggested that some Democrats were worried that Shalala had not pulled away, called it a “stunning turn” for a race that should be a “slam dunk” for Democrats.
“Democrats believe the race is tied and that Trump’s rampant unpopularity in the district will ultimately tilt the scales to Shalala,” Wasserman wrote. “But Democrats are now on the verge of frittering away what was once considered their easiest pickup of the cycle.”
He cited a bad candidate match up, noting that Shalala, 77, would be the second-oldest House freshman in history and is seeking to represent an overwhelmingly Hispanic district, despite not speaking Spanish.
Her Republican opponent, Maria Elvira Salazar, 56, is a well-known former Spanish language television reporter who has “been savvy in attracting free media.”
The downgrade follows two recent polls that suggested Shalala would have a tougher time than expected flipping the seat.
In the poll conducted for Salazar’s campaign by McLaughlin & Associates, Salazar leads Shalala by 51 percent to 42 percent, with 7 percent undecided. The poll also found Shalala’s negatives were twice those of the former television journalist, “yet her favorables are 14 points lower.” A memo accompanying the poll says that “while Salazar is ahead, she must not take anything for granted and will need significant resources to continuing running a very strong campaign.”
In her own poll conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International, Shalala, the former Clinton-era Health and Human Services Secretary tops Salazar, but only by narrow margin: 46 percent to 42 percent. No-party candidate Mayra Joli, the self-described master of selfies, polled at 8 percent, with 4 percent undecided.
And I’m not talking about the weather storms.
College football fans are well aware that the University Of Miami Hurricanes had been a football powerhouse team, beginning their run of dominance in the 1980’s. They won five national championships and nine conference championships, and sent dozens of players to the NFL.
Then Donna Shalala took over as university president.
She fired the coach, Larry Coker, who had guided the team to the 2001-2002 national championship and would have won the next season’s championship if not for a phantom pass interference call. The program promptly ran into the ditch under Shalala’s chosen replacement, Randy Shannon. Rather than compete for national championships, they were competing for .500 records and any bowl game invitations.
Four years of mediocrity led to the firing of Shannon. Shalala then decided to hire Temple coach Al Golden. Yes, Donna Shalala decided to hire someone from the perpetual bottom feeding Temple Owls to lead this formerly prestigious team.
Golden didn’t fare much better, and was canned after five years.
After Shalala left the university in 2015, to take over as president of the Clinton Foundation (you can’t make this stuff up), her replacement at the University Of Miami hired Mark Richt to coach the team, and he immediately turned the program around and they are once again competing for conference championships and big money bowl games.
College football fans are long to forget and rarely forgive the kind of mistakes and shame that Shalala brought to their team and school.
And that’s the area that she’s running for congress in.
And, for some reason, the democrats think this is a good idea.
Then again, running once-great things into the ditch seems to be the democrats’ specialty, so maybe Shalala is the perfect fit for the party.