Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Announces Her Retirement-- Too Bad She's Not Taking Wasserman Schultz With Her


It was just a matter of when, but sooner or later everyone knew Ileana Ros-Lehtinen-- first elected to Congress in 1989-- would retire and FL-27 would go to the Democrats. The district has long ago left the realm of purple and has been deep blue for some time now. Only the furious on-going efforts of neighboring congresswoman and crooked crony Debbie Wasserman Schultz have kept Ros-Lehtinen safely ensconced in her seat and without serious Democratic challengers. Although the ridiculous and irrelevant clowns at Cook calculate the current PVI at R+2, Obama beat Romney 53.0% to 46.3% in 2012 and Hillary eviscerated Trumpanzee 58.6% to 38.9% last November. FL-27 was Trump's worst performance in any Republican-held congressional district in America.

So today's Miami Herald exclusive by Patricia Mazzei was huge news. With the loss of Wasserman Schultz's power to protect her, it was probably inevitable but, in Mazzei's words, "Ros-Lehtinen, the dean of the Florida legislative delegation and the first Cuban American elected to Congress, is retiring at the end of her term next year, saying it’s time to move on after 38 years in elected office... Her unexpected retirement marks the end of a storied career in which Ros-Lehtinen repeatedly broke political ground as a Cuban-American woman-- and gives Democrats an opportunity to pick up a South Florida congressional seat in 2018."
Ros-Lehtinen, 64, was elected last November to Florida’s redrawn 27th district, a stretch of Southeast Miami-Dade County that leans so Democratic that Hillary Clinton won it over Donald Trump by 20 percentage points.

Ros-Lehtinen defeated Democratic challenger Scott Fuhrman, a first-time candidate, by 10 points. It was her closest reelection race in years and forced her to deplete her $3.4 million campaign account, but she said Sunday she wasn't worried about 2018.

“There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that I would not only win in this election, but I would win by a greater percentage,” Ros-Lehtinen said, adding that she would have been able to raise at least $2.5 million and win in a midterm election without a Democratic presidential candidate leading the ballot.

But she said the prospect of another two or four or more years in Congress just didn’t appeal to her anymore.

“There was no epiphany. There was no moment, nothing that has happened that I've said, “I've got to move on,’” Ros-Lehtinen said. “It was just a realization that I could keep getting elected-- but it's not about getting elected.”

She also said she’s not leaving Congress because of her differences with President Trump or with House GOP leadership, though Ros-Lehtinen has been one of the most vocal moderate Republican critics of the White House and the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Ros-Lehtinen, who said she didn’t vote for Trump last year, has disagreed with the president on deportations, transgender rights and budget cuts, and with House Republicans on health care.

“I've served under all kinds of different dynamics in all these years that I've been in office here,” said Ros-Lehtinen, who was first elected to Congress in 1989 after seven years in the Florida Legislature. “Though I don't agree with many, if not most, positions of President Trump.”

Having Republicans control the White House, House and Senate “gives me an opportunity to stand out more and have people realize that I'm a moderate,” she said. “I'm not one of those name-callers that think the Democrats don’t have a single good idea. Too many people think that way, and I think that's to the detriment to civility and of good government.”

But, she insisted, “it's not been part of the calculation of retiring.”

“I would be talking to you even if Hillary Clinton were president,” Ros-Lehtinen said.
There were already 3 Democrats running-- the wealthy Patrick Murphy-like conservaDem who she beat last year, Scott Fuhrman; a pretty weak Miami Beach Commissioner, Kristen Rosen Gonzalez; and Berniecrat Michael Hepburn. Mazzei (and everyone else) predicts that with Ros-Lehtinen out of the picture, "others are likely to become interested now." Annette Taddeo, who was very publicly sabotaged by Wasserman Schultz when "Deadly Debbie" was the chair of the DCCC's Red-to-Blue program in 2008, is a probable candidate who could win a primary and the general election, especially if she follows her own progressive instincts and doesn't run as an EMILY's List milquetoast candidate walking on eggshells.

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At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Exit 135 said...

From commentator irasdad5h at TPM:

“There was no epiphany.”

Well, other than the classified materials she saw.

As a member of the House Intelligence Committee investigating Trump and the Kremlin.

And the coming tidal wave of patriots with torches and pitchforks aimed at the GOP.

No epiphany other than that…

At 9:46 PM, Blogger Richard said...

In 1996, Ros-Lehtinen had no Democratic opponent, Had the Florida filing fee been less than about $2900, I would have tried to get on the ballot; instead, I filed as a write-in candidate to run against Ros-Lehtinen in the general. (Only write-in candidates who file with the Florida secretary of state can get their votes counted.) I got 8 votes.

I can compare that to two other elections I ran as a write-in for Congress where there was no Democratic candidate on the ballot. In 1994, I ran against Michael Bilirakis and got 153 votes. In 2004, I ran against Ander Crenshaw and got 1,170 votes. I spent no money in either of these elections.

In Florida for years, Democrats just didn't nominate anyone to run against Republican incumbents for the U.S. House. The difficult ballot access is a problem for candidates.

In contrast, when I saw that no Democrat had filed to run against Wyoming Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis in 2014, I could become the candidate by spending only $300 on the filing fee. I spent no other money and didn't campaign. I got 23% of the vote, not much less than the previous two Democratic candidates, and I won one county, Teton County (Jackson Hole area) while the Democratic candidates for governor and U.S. senator lost.

There should be no Republican U.S. House seat that lets an incumbent win unopposed in 2018.

At 6:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pelosi and DWS will find some corrupt whore or a former R to run. They have plenty of money.


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