WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Special Florida Congressional election outcome bad omen for the Dems in 2014

Both major political parties and special interest groups treated Tuesday's special election in a Florida Gulf Coast Congressional district north of St. Petersburg as a dress-rehearsal for the big event: The 2014 mid-term elections.

Both sides poured in money and resources, and tested campaign themes. The money financed an avalanche of TV commercials, robocalls, and mailers. National themes, beginning with the President's health-care overhaul, dominated.

In the end, the Republican candidate, former lobbyist David Jolly, prevailed over Democrat Alex Sink (who had nearly captured the Florida governorship in 2010) by 3,400 votes. Of course, one can easily over-interpret the results, but the outcome does suggest running against Obamacare and loosened immigration will drive conservative voters to the polls.

In retrospect, you can look at the district in so many different ways. Yes, Republicans had the district's electoral history on their side. Voters in the district were disproportionately whiter and older than the national average. Yet, President Obama carried this district in 2008 and 2012. (Once again, the Dems' advantage in Presidential election years) Republican special-interest groups cheerfully poured millions of dollars into the race, but the Democratic coalition (including organized labor, environmental groups, and liberal PACs) poured in even more money.

In the end, what strikes me is how an ex-Washington lobbyist inclined to wear pin-striped suits still prevailed by bashing Obamacare. Also, he defeated the female candidate with nearly 100% name recognition. Yet, Jolly was a flawed candidate (which should scare the dickens out of Democrats!) POLITICO reported: "National Republicans had reservations about Jolly. In the week before the election, a number of G.O.P. operatives described to POLITICO a chaotic, disjointed campaign that struggled to raise money and had staff located in the state capitol, hundreds of miles from where the race was being held." Until the outcome, sounds like some Republicans were throwing Jolly under the bus!

And, Democratic candidates in competitive districts face some soul-searching: Do they adopt the losing candidate's "fix it, don't repeal it" approach - still favored by the national Democratic Party - or do they flat out run AGAINST Obamacare (with the risk of alienating liberal/progressive voters)?



Some local Florida political nuance from The TAMPA BAY TIMES...


Posted at 7:33am on March 12, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Wed, Mar 12, 2014 8:21am
0bamaCare is only one of several issues that have Republicans "chomping at the bit" to vote out Progressives in 2014...the Progressive policies have failed and the country is suffering.

Wed, Mar 12, 2014 11:07am
I think too much emphasis is being placed on this race. The hoopla doesn't account for the fact that the Democratic candidate was probably weaker and less liked than the Republican candidate.... It would be like people looking at Christine O'Donnell's loss here in Delaware and blaming it on America's disenchantment with conservatism... No, she was by far the weaker candidate...

Going over the election results bears this out. There was not widespread defection from one party to the other. There were actually some defections going both ways, and it appears that Republicans simply got more...

Here is a map of the data.


It is premature to point to Obamacare as the reason. Just saw that it's hit the 4-million mark in new sign ups. That is most likely 4-million Democratic votes. Compare that to the 5-million vote margin Obama had over Romney across the entire U.S.A. back in 2012, one of the largest sweeps in our lifetimes... Without raw data, it is impossible to determine the fallout, but from the big picture, it does not look good for Republicans, especially now that investigative reporting is following up with all those people trotted out who said Obamacare was costing them more money, and finding a) they did not go to the exchange where they could have saved a whole lot of money, and b) they almost always have direct ties (family or marriage) to an active party operative of the Republican Party....

To quote PT Barnum there is a sucker born every minute, and at this point, it looks like that is the only hope Republicans have, if they ever want to swell up their ranks.

Wed, Mar 12, 2014 11:40am
Sorry but the P.T.Barnum quote should be directed at the people who believed what the president promised about the Affordable Care Act...the suckers still believe after the facts have revealed he flat out lied.

Looks like man-made Climate Change just may be real...at least the political climate for 2014 ;)

Allan Loudell
Wed, Mar 12, 2014 11:49am

Except, based on reporting from Florida, the Republican candidate was a deeply flawed candidate (Some G.O.P.'ers were giving him up for dead) -- and he still won.

Even if all you say about the President's health-care initiative is true, politically, what matters is what drives people to the polls. Republicans are much better at driving THEIR folks to the polls for special and mid-term elections. Ripping Obamacare just drives them further.

Democrats have a fundamental problem with getting their folks out for special and mid-term elections. Younger voters are generally less driven, or become disenchanted with the gridlocked political system after a couple of election cycles.

Allan Loudell

Wed, Mar 12, 2014 5:30pm
That is funny because that is what I was hearing about the Democratic candidate... who affiliated with Big Banks down there; hard to get the excitable Democrats, the young ones to vote there... I'm guessing it was the rabid conservatives who gave up on their Republican candidate because he was a RINO, and not a "real" conservative? Sounds like a battle for the middle...

Earl is not attuned to the benefits of the Obamacare program. If all you hear is the one side derailing it, you will be completely surprised by all those excited to finally after 14 years, now can go to the doctor for the first time.

There are two sides as I've said all along, and for one side Obamacare is very real, and for the other, it is a campaign issue. Obamacare is similar to Social Security and Medicare. There was a lot of grumbling at both because it was "taking money out of my paycheck I'd never see"... But they are still around today, more popular than ever....

Earl, Republicans, and the Tea Party are on the wrong side of history...

Agree with Allan that old people who are retired, got nothing to do with their time, are more likely to live for 4 years just to vote a certain way on election day. If turnout is low, then Republicans could win. But they fail every time turnout is high because there are not enough of them...

Wed, Mar 12, 2014 8:23pm
Hey Kavips, we may be on the wrong side of history, but we're on the right side of the future!

Thu, Mar 13, 2014 12:52am
We are all on the right side of the future (this side)... (Think about the wording...)

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Mar 13, 2014 8:33am
Kavips: What's got people fired up about Obamacare is we're now seeing the results ourselves in 2014; no spin needed from the liberal or conservative spin-machines [MSNBC or FOX].

Most folks, including myself, experienced higher premiums with higher deductibles and higher prices for meds they need to take, while the insurance plans are giving away FREE birth-control pills, abortions, pap smears, mammograms, and colonoscopies [no co-pays, totally FREE]. So Obama lied again when he said we'd save money. So far, that's not been my experience, or those of folks I've talked to. Even once we've reached our deductible, those needed meds are NOT free; we still pay a co-pay or part of the price, so why should those folks get those things totally FREE [this isn't just poor, but anyone who uses those things gets them FREE]? Doesn't seem reasonable. THAT is what's helping folks get fired up about Obamacare. People vote their wallet.

So yes, there are those who never had health insurance who are benefitting, but many of the rest of us who already had insurance are now getting it "put to us", because of Obamacare and the lies he told. Make no mistake about it, those were lies, and the public is angry about it. It's one thing to help someone, but something else to be the patsy.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Mar 13, 2014 8:39am
Kavips: Note this item about the gap between RED and BLUE states has fallen from 30 more Blue than Red in 2008, to only 3 more Red than Blue in 2013.


Thu, Mar 13, 2014 8:54am
Sorry, kavips but President 0bama looks/sounds more like P.T. Barnum every day... 'm sure you've seen his most recent attempt to lure the youngsters onto his ACA website. His "between two ferns" interview was hilarious but he doesn't seem to grasp he and his health insurance plan are being mocked... they are laughing AT him, not WITH him...he is the punchline.


Thu, Mar 13, 2014 9:14am
Earl is not attuned to the benefits of the Obamacare program. If all you hear is the one side derailing it, you will be completely surprised by all those excited to finally after 14 years, now can go to the doctor for the first time.

Actually Earl is "attuned" to the "benefits" of 0bamaCare...for starters it would cost a lot more money (after being promised it would save me & my family around $1500/yr)...I also know quite a few people who have been forced onto ACA and, not only are they paying more, they CAN'T keep their doctors.

Harry Reid has claimed that only liars have had any issues with the ACA... well I have, my friends have, and quite a few others have. We're not lying, but Harry Reid sure is.
Don't worry kavips, there are Tea Party and other groups compiling a database to document all these supposed liars and prove ACA is not working and is actually far worse than what we had before.

But maybe we should be thankful for ACA... it is completely changing the political landscape for 2014 and (not soon enough) 2016.

Thu, Mar 13, 2014 10:25am
Since this thread has turned into a discussion of the ACA, I have one observation and several questions.

One, I just adopted a new health-care plan for my company. My employees (and me) are saving 40% over what we were paying. Now, we will have higher deductibles, but not so high as to break anyone, and the policy was just not available before, primarily because we are a small company and we have no leverage on the insurance companies. I believe that health-care insurance should be like car insurance: you don't file a claim every time you get your oil changed; you file when you have an accident. Likewise, I feel that everyone should take some responsibility for their regular check-ups.

Question: MFD wrote: "FREE birth-control pills, abortions, pap smears, mammograms, and colonoscopies [no co-pays, totally FREE]". My new policy doesn't cover these things for free, and I haven't seen one that does. However, if it is true, might it be because the insurance companies have learned that preventive testing and care is less expensive than waiting for disease to happen?

Thu, Mar 13, 2014 11:23am
dunmore: I'm curious...is your new health-care plan through the ACA Marketplace?

I agree with your car insurance comparison to health-care insurance...car insurance can be bought across state lines, are not dependent upon your employer, and can be customized to fit the individual or family for coverage. And, if you poorly maintain your car (oneself) then you should be held responsible for the higher mechanic's (doctor's) bills.

As an employer, I'm sure you would love it if you were not responsible for your employees health-care insurance and let them decide what works best for them/their families.

Thu, Mar 13, 2014 11:38am
We did not go through ACA. I did go through that for pricing, which I found comparable to what we actually selected. Our soon-to-be previous insurance provider admitted that pressure from ACA forced that firm to provide lower cost policies.

As an employer, I choose to provide health care for my employees. I also choose to pay for most of it. That is the advantage of being a small private company; I can choose what to spend my money on. I have no stockholders demanding huge returns and high profits.

We did select a plan with several options so the employees could choose for themselves what works best for them, such as EPO, PPO, HSA, Silver v. Bronze, etc. I also chose to use a broker because I wear several hats here, and I'd rather spend my time doing engineering rather than mastering the lingo of health care.

Thu, Mar 13, 2014 1:05pm
dunmore: I must admit you sound like an awesome employer to work for... hopefully your employees know how rare you are.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Mar 13, 2014 1:24pm
Dunmore: Does your new policy conform to the Obamacare mandate? My employer [a large corporation] updated its policy to meet the changes required by the ACA [they didn't state that those freebes were due to Obamacare, but I've been an employee of theirs for 40 years and this year was the first time those things were ever FREE, thus my conclusion that in their updating to conform to the mandate of Obamacare, these became FREE]. I believe the government has given businesses an extra year to conform, so yourpolicy may change next year.

Granted folks don't always take perfect care of themselves, we all can probably do a better job in that department, but as we age things also change and wear out, etc. [I've rarely had a sick day during the past 40 years or any serious medical issue until last year]. So the attitude of "punishing" someone because he/she has a medical issue I don't totally agree with. So only the people who are the "health nuts" and can prove they are the "Yule Gibbons" type [remember him from the Grape Nuts commercials] should be given a break? That is not reasonable, in my opinion. But it is the problem with the government paying or regulating health-care, because no one wants to pay for someone else's lack of healthy living [the ole throw the book at them], but wants compassion for their case [the give me the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law].

I agree with EarlGrey, you sound like an excellent employer.

Thu, Mar 13, 2014 2:22pm
MFD - I don't know if our new policies conform to ACA, although I presume they do. As I said, I wear many hats here, and learning all 1,000 pages or so of the new health care act just isn't going to happen. I have to rely on the insurance provider.

One of my employees smokes, and I gave him a year to quit. After that, if he doesn't, he has to pay the difference between the cost of his policy and mine. This is about $300/month. Our new health-care plan has smoking cessation benefits and plans so hopefully he can take advantage of this.

With ACA, the only personal factors that drive the cost of insurance are age and smoking. This allows pre-existing conditions to be covered.

I don't know why everyone makes such a big deal about mandatory health insurance and not about mandatory car insurance. Why is forcing people to take responsibility for themselves worse than letting them be freeloaders on society?

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Mar 13, 2014 3:30pm
Dunmore, so you're saying that for an employee who smokes, his/her policy costs $300/month more than a non-smoker. That alone should be a major incentive to give up the smokes, not to mention the price of the smokes themselves. That is great, that you offer a smoking cessation benefit for your employees.

The problem is some folks are just "naturally" healthy [George Burns comes to mind, the man smoked cigars and drank, yet lived to be 100], and other folks who excercise, eat properly, don't smoke or drink, die young of some disease such as cancer.

I have no problem with folks taking responsibility for themselves, but a "black-and-white" rule that doesn't take such things into consideration as what I just described seems wrong. I totally agree that the freeloaders who don't have any insurance and then go to the ER and do not pay for their care [and aren't on Medicaid, because they are above the poverty line], meaning the ER/hospital passes on those charges to you and me, to me is very wrong.

I was all in favor of Obamacare, until this January when my premium went up, my deductible went up, and the cost of the meds I need now to take went up, while hearing that things like birth control pills and abortions are free, no co-pay, meaning I'm now paying so that those college girls [and boys] that Sandra Fluke spoke for, now can party hardy and have all the "fun" they want at my expense. Where is the taking responsibility for themselves in that? So that taking-responsibility-thing only applies to old guys who've been paying their entire lives?? THAT's my issue.

I can accept the idea of FREE mamograms, papsmears, and colonsocopies because those things are important tools for finding cancer early; that's a good and useful thing [should save lives and save money long-term for insurance companies]. But if you want to have sex, then be responsible the get the needed protection. I don't have a problem if provided as a med in their insurance policy, but it shouldn't be FREE any more than the meds I take, that aren't an option that I must actually have, aren't FREE. So if I can take responsibility, why can't they?

Thu, Mar 13, 2014 3:43pm
MFD - Well, I don't know where you "heard" that birth control and abortions are free, unless it was from some misogynist talk show host like Rush or Hannity. They certainly aren't free on our new policy, they are meds and procedures like any other.

BTW, George Burns one said that sex at 90 is like shooting pool with a rope.

Thu, Mar 13, 2014 7:33pm
Mike, you said your costs went up? Is that from something you bought on to the exchange?

Thu, Mar 13, 2014 7:43pm
Earl, unless you can come up with details, I'm having difficulty believing your story about problems with Obamacare. If you are having problems with your corporate insurer, and did not go onto the exchange, then that problem is between you and the corporate insurer... Don't think they aren't going to gouge you if they can...

The free market works on the exchange. Dunmore mentioned his carrier confessed the exchange forced him to keep prices lower. In the two years since Obamacare was passed, America's overall medical costs have not climbed... That says a lot.

It seems to be the biggest complainers are those who shop at the 7/11 and complain about the cost of a pack of Lance crackers, without going to Walmart where they can get a 12 pack for the same price... They complain, and blame the president for high prices but yet they didn't shop around...

The exchange prices are comparable to what insurance cost me back in the 90's.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Mar 13, 2014 8:45pm
Dunmore said, "MFD - Well, I don't know where you "heard" that birth control and abortions are free, unless it was from some misogynist talk show host like Rush or Hannity. They certainly aren't free on our new policy, they are meds and procedures like any other."

My response: No I didn't get my info from the likes of Limbaugh or Jensen. Read what just spent the better part of an hour researching for you. I found this info below and you'll see, that Obamacare does mandate this coverage, to be FREE with no co-pays, etc. So you may see some changes in your policy next year as I suggested earlier. I provided the link so you can check it out for yourself. It's far less than 1000 pages, so you should be able to handle it.

On August 1, 2012, provisions in the health care law requiring insurance companies to cover contraceptives with no co-pay went into effect.  In the next few years, as an increasing number of health plans come under the law’s reach, more and more women will have access to all of the FDA-approved forms of contraception with no co-pay. This means that eventually all women with private insurance will get the full range of FDA-approved birth control methods, including oral contraception (the pill), injectables, the ring, contraceptive implants, diaphragms, cervical caps, and non-surgical permanent contraceptives without paying a co-payment or having the costs applied to her deductible.*  Sterilization for women is also covered with no co-pay or deductible.
* Insurance companies do have some flexibility in implementing this new requirement, like being able to charge a co-pay for a brand name drug where generic equivalents exist. 

The health care law (the Affordable Care Act) requires certain preventive health services and screenings to be covered in all new health insurance plans without cost sharing. This means that, for these services, you will not be charged a co-payment or co-insurance for the services, nor will you need to pay out-of-pocket if you have not yet met your deductible.

As of August 1, 2012, all new health plans must cover a range of women’s preventive services without cost sharing. These services have been identified by the Institute of Medicine and endorsed by the Health Resources and Services Administration.  They include:
(1) Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling;
(2) Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence;
(3) Screening for gestational diabetes;
(4) DNA testing for high-risk strains of HPV;
(5) Counseling regarding sexually transmitted infections, including HIV;
(6) Screening for HIV;
(7) Contraceptive methods and counseling;  and
(8) Well woman visits.

Required services that are of critical importance for women include:
(1) Mammograms every 1-2 years for women over 40;
(2) Cervical cancer screening;
(3) Smoking and alcohol cessation programs for adults;
(4) A wide range of prenatal screenings and tests;
(5) Diabetes and blood pressure screening and counseling; and
(6) Depression screening for adolescents and adults.  
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices includes a number of vaccines important to women, including vaccines for HPV, the flu, and Hepatitis, among others.


The nexus of federal funding of health care and aiding the nation's largest abortion provider Planned Parenthood runs through the new government insurance program – but it also predates it.

Planned Parenthood receives more than $500 million annually from the federal government, mostly through “family planning” grants, and makes $130 million annually from its own abortion services.
In some states, Medicaid funds abortion, and under the Affordable Care Act (known as ObamaCare), consumers often do not know whether the insurance plan they are buying covers abortion until they purchase it.

Hope this is helpful to you Dunmore.

Kavips: my employer provides our healthcare insurance choices, they offer two plans, both offer all that stuff for FREE. They tell us what our premiums are, what the deductible is, and how much they'll pay and what we'll pay for meds, doctor visits, hospital visits, etc, [once the deductible has been met].

Fri, Mar 14, 2014 12:17pm
kavips: I'm not going to give more private health care info on a blog...but for me + family the costs have all gone UP and not DOWN thanks to the "Affordable" Care Act. To receive the same coverage I once had now costs more and to receive equivalent coverage in the Marketplace also costs more for my family and me...maybe if I were only shopping insurance for myself it would be different.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Mar 14, 2014 3:35pm
Gee, as the preacher used to say, it sure got quiet in here. So where is all that talk about taking responsibility? Sure it's OK, if I have to pay for my meds, but heaven forbid that women pay for birth control pills or all that other stuff. I don't have a problem with insurance providing them, but not FREE, unless I'm going to get my meds FREE too. Why am I a second class citizen?

This is what's gotten many working class people upset with Obamacare. They're paying and others aren't paying their share. So the spread between BLUE and RED states is only by 3 states vs 30 back in 2008. So apparently I'm not the only person unhappy with this lack of reasonableness. November 2014 and 2016 are coming. To quote Obama's former preacher Rev. Wright, the chickens are comin' home to roost.

Sat, Mar 15, 2014 8:31am
MFD, thanks for the list of preventive services.

I think the ACA has more emphasis on preventive services now, as the health care providers realize that preventing disease is cheaper than curing it.

Does this approach cost you more? Is this a good thing? I don't know about you, but I'd rather have a colonoscopy now than colon cancer later.

Besides, no one is forced to buy health insurance. Sure, there are (might be) penalties for not doing so, but they are probably cheaper than the insurance, and you can always be a freeloader and go to the emergency room.

It seems to me that that this new emphasis on prevention allows people to take responsibility. It's real clear what kills people in this country: smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer. Cancer might not be preventable, but the other 3 are, and cancer screening can certainly help with prognosis.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Mar 15, 2014 10:01am
Dunmore: Can't argue with your point, but that is aimed really at younger folks [which, if you think about it, are the folks who supported Obama, other than people of color the other large group who supported him - so is this political payback, or possibly punishment for the others who didn't support him]. The point also was that Obama did say it would be less expensive, sadly that doesn't seem to be the case as many folks I know who already had insurance prior to 2014 are now paying more and getting less coverage, thus one of the lies he told to get support for Obamacare.

For us more "seasoned" folks, some of that preventative stuff is too late, but we still need to care for the issues we might now have [no matter what that is - thus the fear the elderly and Sarah Palin have of the so-called "Death Panels"], which is what seems wrong to me. I get to pay and the young get it totally free. They should be paying co-pays for their meds/doc visits, etc., just as I have to pay for mine, is really my point. That way, all are sharing in the cost of health-care. Obviously those living below the poverty line would be excluded.

I guess the bigger question is: Will this anger over getting "the shaft" with Obamacare be enough to cause folks who are independents, to vote Republican in 2014 and 2016 rather than Democrat? As long as the DEMS are in control, Obamacare will stay as it is, but is that enough to cause folks to vote G.O.P.? We'll have that answer in November 2014 and November 2016.

My guess is IF Obama had been honest with the public, this wouldn't be such a big deal, but the fact that he bold-faced lied numerous times about all this stuff, knowing he was lying, is what really has folks worked up. It means his word is nothing. He's only the President for those who voted for him.

I know Kavips believes 2014 and 2016 will be great years for the DEMS, but my gut tells me different, assuming the G.O.P./TEA folks don't do the usual stupid stuff they did in 2012 [sometimes they are their own worst enemy], so given that, Kavips might be right.

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