Republicans and Democrats at the national level continue to showcase new opportunities to flip congressional seats–but none of them are in Florida.
This week, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) highlighted new contenders for open seats and districts but–as has been the case in recent weeks–did not focus on the Sunshine State.
On Friday, the NRCC brought out 11 new members of its “Young Guns” program but none of them were from Florida.
“The Republican House and Trump administration are leading America’s comeback,” said U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.. “Across the country, conservatives are coming together and stepping into the political arena to help complete the work needed to strengthen our economy, our military, and our country. I am proud to welcome each candidate to the Young Guns program to ensure they have the resources they need to win, and I look forward to seeing them on the trail this summer and fall.”
“Our Young Guns are the cream of the crop,” said U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio. “This first round of extraordinary candidates includes men and women from diverse backgrounds across the country. I can’t wait for them to join me in Congress to fight to keep our economic comeback on track.”
With the NRCC bypassing Florida again, there are only two races in the Sunshine State included in the “Young Guns” program. The NRCC has put state Rep. Mike Miller and businessman Scott Sturgill, who are both trying to challenge U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., in its “On the Radar” status of the Young Guns program. In the race to replace U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who is retiring after almost 30 years in Congress, the NRCC has included former Miami Dade County Commissioner and former state Rep. Bruno Barreiro and TV journalist Maria Elvira Salazar to the “On the Radar” group as well.
The DCCC stayed out of Florida as well, even as it named attorney Antonio Delgado, who is challenging U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-NY, and attorney Betsy Rader, who is taking on U.S. Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, to its “Red to Blue” program.
“Antonio Delgado has the strength, integrity and dedication to give this community the voice it deserves,” U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, the chairman of the DCCC, said on Thursday. “A tireless advocate for the families of the Hudson Valley and the Catskills, Antonio will fight for affordable, quality health care, good-paying jobs, and to create an economy that works for all. Antonio always gets the job done, and it’s why he has built one of the strongest, grassroots-driven campaigns in the nation.”
“From running a program to help abused children, to representing individuals who face employment discrimination and sexual harassment, Betsy Rader has dedicated herself to empowering people and giving those a voice who need it most,” Luján continued. “Betsy is using her passion for helping people and desire to make her community a better place in order to build a strong grassroots campaign that will make the race for Ohio’s 14th District competitive.”
While the GOP has most of the 27 congressional seats in Florida, the DCCC has only advanced three candidates to the “Red to Blue” program: former Amb. Nancy Soderberg who served as a deputy National Security Advisor in the Clinton White House and is running for the open seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla.; attorney Lauren Baer who worked in the Obama State Department and is now trying to challenge U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla.; and community leader Debbie Mucarsel-Powell who is trying to take on U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla. With an impressive field of candidates including former U.S. HHS Sec. Donna Shalala and state Rep. David Richardson running, Democrats think their best chance to flip a seat in Florida is the one held by Ros-Lehtinen but none of the candidates in that race have been named to the “Red to Blue” program.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.