Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Florida | District 18 | Domino | Murphy | NRCC

As GOP Wave Forms, Why Isn't NRCC in Florida District 18?

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Thursday, 30 October 2014 04:24 PM Current | Bio | Archive

With the latest Washington Post poll showing likely voters nationwide preferring Republicans to Democrats by 50 percent to 44 percent in races for the U.S. House, signs are ominous for Democrats in the final days of the election that the GOP majority in the next House could reach record proportions.

With "handicappers" and the "punditocracy" agreeing that this apparent wave is powered by unexpected Republican strength in Democratic-held districts, a number of Republicans are beginning to ask why its national party operations are ignoring candidates in winnable districts.

One such district in which GOP activists increasingly ask "why not?" is Florida-18 (District 18, Palm Beach Gardens), where Democrat Pat Murphy won one of the tightest races of 2012 and is now facing a spirited challenge from Republican Carl Domino, who was a key point-man in the state Legislature for former GOP Gov. Jeb Bush.

Excluding vacancies, the present House has 234 seats held by Republicans and 201 by Democrats. Should the Republicans continue to gain ground, political pundits agree, they could make a net gain of as many as 15 seats — giving the GOP the highest number of seats it has held in the House since Herbert Hoover swept to the presidency in 1928.

"Democrats aren't performing well in districts they targeted," Michael Barone, father of the "Almanac of American Politics," told the recent "Election Watch" panel of the American Enterprise Institute.

"They've pulled out of Colorado-6, California-10 — which is 41 percent Hispanic — and California-21, which is 72 percent Hispanic. They're not performing well with Hispanic voters [who gave Barack Obama 67 percent of their votes in 2008 and 71 percent in 2012]."

Barone also pointed out that late-breaking polls show Republicans leading incumbent Democratic U.S. Reps. in Minnesota's District 8, where businessman and Brad Pitt lookalike Stewart Mills faces Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan, and in districts in Arizona, California, Illinois, and New York — "and it's hard to create Republican congressional districts in New York."

"Regardless of whether you want to call it a wave," wrote the Rothenberg Political Report's Nathan Gonzales, "the fight for the House continues to creep into Democratic territory."

Two years ago, in an outcome that drew national attention, Democrat Murphy held and clung to a lead of fewer than 3,000 votes in the Florida-18. Then-Rep. Allen West, a conservative firebrand, challenged the outcome for weeks before conceding.

Murphy, 30, now faces Domino, 70, an investments counselor and U.S. Navy veteran who handily won the Republican primary over five opponents.

To Murphy's claim of being "independent" and working "tirelessly to bridge the divide between the two parties," Domino counters that the Democrat "has not voted at all to repeal Obamacare," which "is costing citizens and the district every day. They are not getting the doctors and policies they were promised."

Backed by the National Rifle Association and the National Right to Life Committee, the conservative GOP challenger also hits hard at what he calls "the most important vote a U.S. representative can cast — his first vote, and my opponent's was to make Nancy Pelosi speaker."

In recent weeks, Domino has pounded hard on the issue of his long-standing opposition to the proposed "All Aboard Florida" railroad line, which would go through the Treasure Coast (within the 18th District) if built and, in the Republican's words, "will bring us dirt and noise and eventually cost the taxpayers something. Projects like this always do."

He branded Murphy a "hypocrite" for now voicing opposition to the proposed train "after doing nothing about it for a year and telling others he favored it."

The two opponents also disagree strongly on the issue of immigration. Murphy has said voting for the "comprehensive immigration" package passed in the Senate is a "no-brainer" for him, while Domino opposes the measure and supports separate measures that strengthen the U.S. Border Patrol and "holds employers responsible if they don't follow the laws on the books."

Domino freely admitted to Newsmax that "I'm self-funding" the campaign to the tune of $1 million and that the National Republican Congressional Committee has "not backed us at all." (Newsmax contacted the NRCC to ask about its decision on Florida-18, but they did not return our calls.)

"It would be great if the national party came in at the end," Domino said, "but hey, with the issues and the wave that's growing, I think we'll make it."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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With the latest Washington Post poll showing likely voters nationwide preferring Republicans to Democrats by 50 percent to 44 percent in races for the U.S. House, signs are ominous for Democrats that the GOP majority in the next House could reach record proportions.
Florida, District 18, Domino, Murphy, NRCC, Florida-18
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2014-24-30
Thursday, 30 October 2014 04:24 PM
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