THE MIDTERMS MINUTE: Florida’s Battleground Races!

MIDTERMS_MINUTE_IMAGE_FINAL.pngThe Midterms Minute is a look at the candidates and races that you need to know about, shout about and support to make sure we have a blue tsunami on November 6th. (Quick links at bottom of page)

The primaries are over, the candidates are set and now it’s time to focus on the big picture fight. Everything we do between now and election day should be done while keeping the most vulnerable and disenfranchised among us in mind.

We’ve included volunteer links and resources in the show notes, including the specific Swing Left and the Democratic Party’s Red to Blue pages for the races we’ll be mentioning today so that you know how to help. You can also view all of our spotlight segments and every battleground race at THE MIDTERMS MINUTE H.Q..

Today, we’re talking about the battleground races in Florida, where the lead up to the midterms is already proving to be brutal. Trump only won Florida by 1.2% and the state includes four “pivot counties” - counties that voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, but went for Trump in 2016. Democrats are counting on some "Trump Regret" votes this November.

U.S. SENATE: In the Senate, Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is facing Republican and Florida Governor Rick Scott. Although Nelson won his second term by 13 points in 2012, this race is considered a battleground and currently rated a toss up. As a reminder, the Democrats must retain all ten battleground Senate seats and pick up two additional seats from Republicans to take the Senate.

Moving on now to the House races.

FL-15:  Florida’s 15th district is an open seat race, after Republican incumbent Dennis Ross did not seek re-election. Democrat and attorney Kristen Carlson is facing Republican and state Rep. Ross Spano. The latest poll shows the two candidates in a tight race, with Carlson narrowly leading. Trump won this district and it is currently rated as leaning Republican. HELP FLIP FL-15!

FL-16: In Florida’s 16th district, Democrat David Shapiro will face Republican incumbent Vern Buchanan. Trump won here by a slim margin. Before the primaries were over, Buchanan was already running attack ads against Shapiro about his questionable investments. And while they do raise questions that Shapiro should answer, Buchanan’s horrifying voting record and large campaign contributions from the gun lobby, oil industry, and pharmaceutical industry are more concerning. This race is currently rated as leaning Republican. HELP FLIP FL-16!

FL-18: In Florida’s 18th district, Democrat Lauren Baer, a former U.S. State Department advisor under Obama, is facing Republican incumbent Brian Mast, an Army veteran who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan. The race is drawing national attention. Trump won this district by a slim margin and it is currently rated as leaning Republican. HELP FLIP FL-18!

FL-26: In Florida’s 26th district, which includes Miami, Democrat and Ecuadorian immigrant Debbie Mucarsel-Powell won her primary. She will now face Republican incumbent Carlos Curbelo, who is currently running ads portraying himself as a champion of Dreamers, while simultaneously making excuses for Trump’s family separation at the border. Even though Curbelo won re-election in 2014 by 12 points, this district went blue in both of the last two presidential elections, with Clinton winning by 16 points. The two candidates are currently neck-in-neck in the polls, but the latest Cook Political Report rating has moved this race from a toss up to leaning Republican. HELP FLIP FL-26!

FL-27: Florida’s 27th is an open seat race after Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinenn, who was first elected in 1988, announced she was not seeking re-election. Former Health and Human Services Secretary, Democrat Donna Shalala, is now facing a three-way race between Republican and broadcast journalist Maria Elvira Salazar and Independent Mayra Joli. Clinton won this district and the New York Times has called this race Democrats best pickup opportunity in the country. The race currently rated as leaning Democratic. HELP FLIP FL-27!

GOV: And finally, in a thrilling upset, Bernie Sanders-endorsed, and Tallahassee Mayor, Andrew Gillum, won the Democratic primary for Governor in Florida. If he wins in November, Gillum will be the first black Governor of Florida, a state with one of the largest African American populations in the country. Now, he faces Republican and former Rep. Ron DeSantis, who the day after the primary began lobbing very audible, racist dog whistles. After calling Gillum “articulate,” DeSantis went on to say, “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.” The race is rated as a toss up. HELP ELECT GOV. GILLUM!

IMPORTANT DATES: To vote in the Florida Midterm Elections, you need to be registered to vote by Tuesday, October 9th. For most counties in Florida, absentee ballot requests must be made in person six days before election day. Some counties allow you to order the ballot online. All absentee ballots must be received by 7pm on election day. Early voting begins October 27th and ends November 3rd.

It’s never too early to check registration cut off dates and absentee ballot request and submission dates in your own state. We highly suggest reviewing your state’s important dates and voter ID laws at as soon as possible to ensure you will be able to vote in the general election.

So, if making the Blue Wave a reality in November is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about supporting Democrats in battleground races across the country via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.








Get Involved:

Swing Left (Help flip districts from anywhere) 

Red to Blue (DCCC program to flip seats) 

When We All Vote (Michelle Obama’s initiative) 

Voter Circle (friend-to-friend outreach tool) 

Vote Forward (mail letters to unlikely voters)

Volunteer for Democrats 

Abroad? Phone bank for Democrats  

Let America Vote (voting rights focus) 

Justice Democrats “Justice Dialer”

Brand New Congress GOTV Dialer 

National Democratic Redistricting Committee 

Easily donate to candidates with on your mobile browser. 

“15 Ways to Help a Campaign Win Their Election” (Political Charge) 


Florida Democratic Party

Important Dates: Must be registered by Tuesday, Oct. 9th. Most absentee ballot requests must be made in person 6 days before election day (some counties online). Absentee ballots must be received by 7pm on election day. Early voting begins Oct. 27th-Nov. 3rd. *More details on voting in Florida*


Must Retain Seat: Bill Nelson (D - incumbent)


FL-15: Kristen Carlson 

Swing Left FL-15 

FL-16: David Shapiro 

Red to Blue FL-16

FL-18: Lauren Baer 

Swing Left FL-18 | Red to Blue FL-18

FL-26: Debbie Mucarsel-Powell 

Swing Left FL-26 | Red to Blue FL-26

FL-27: Donna Shalala 

(No Swing Left or Red to Blue page available for FL-27)


GOV: Andrew Gillum 

Sources: Ballotpedia; NBC News; Swing Left


Posted September 18, 2018; Researched & Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman

Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1211: Corporate Monopoly and Political Power 


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