2018       General Election      Elected 51 — 49

 They love her candidacy

 Democrats are excited about Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s candidacy for this South Florida district south from Miami and fromTampa to the end of the Keys.  Daily Kos has identified FL 26 as the 11th likeliest district to be flipped from Republican to Democrat.  Other pundits see the race as a toss-up. If Democrats are to win 80% of the top 20 flippable races, they probably need to win seven of the races rated between 11 and 20.  Democrats in South Florida are confident in Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

 Debbie Mucarsel-Powell does not have a lot of political experience.  She lost her run in 2016 for Florida Senate District 39 by 9 points.  Clinton carried the district by about the same percent. 

 Debbie Mucarsel-Powell has the following going for her:

  • A Congressional District that has elected Democrats in the past.
  • A personal history which resonates with the people of the district.
  • Experience and strength in raising money.  She has raised money for a living.
  • Political goals consistent with her non-political work — making for a consistent and authentic vision.

The District and its recent history

Barack Obama carried Florida’s 26th Congressional District in 2012 by 11 points.  Hillary Clinton carried the same district by 16.  They ought to have a Democratic Representative in Congress.  

 This district used to be Democratic.  In 2012, the Democrat won FL Senate District 39 by 50%.  Then the political world changed.  In 2012, total campaign spending in the district was $300,000.  In 2016, total campaign spending in the district was $2 million dollars. Political spending increased throughout Florida, but particularly in South Florida. 

 The Democratic Congressional incumbent in 2016 was tainted by an aide’s attempt to create fraudulent absentee ballots. The incumbent lost in 2016 by 12 points.  The Democrats intend to get this seat back.  They want the Congressional vote to look like the presidential votes for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

 Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s Personal History

She and her sisters immigrated with their mother to California from Ecuador. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell did well in school, graduated from Pitzer, one of the Claremont schools, and followed her sister to Florida.   Like an increasing number of Floridian Spanish speakers Debbie Mucarsel-Powellis not Cuban-American. She is a double immigrant. From Ecuador to California and, almost twenty years later, to Florida. Now an authentic Floridian, she’s married to a real estate guy.  Is there anything more characteristic of South Florida than real estate?

 Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s Working Life — Climate Change, Health Care, and Stronger CommunitiesIn South Florida she raised money for people who were doing good works. One focus was climate change. She worked for the Coral Restoration Foundation. The damage to Florida’s coral reef is among the most serious consequences of climate change in the state.   She worked for Florida International University.  There, she worked in development for the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine — sharpening her interest and focus on health care. Also in connection with FIU, she worked for The  Green Family Foundation Neighborhood HELP program. These personal and work goals have become her political goals: curbing the climate change and its impact, ensuring comprehensive health care, and creating strong communities.

 Mucarsel-Powell’s political goals – Climate Change, Health Care, and Stronger Communities

Win the Primary.  She should do that. Despite her 2016 primary loss, she impressed.  She raised money.  She was a vigorous campaigner.  Her primary opponents don’t have those qualities.  One ran as an independent for the US Senate.  Another had to drop out of a race because he had not been a Democrat long enough.

 Win the Election.  Her opponent is not a pushover, even in a Democratic district. The incumbent has worked with Democrats earning a ranking at the 11th most bi-partisan congressman. He has weaknesses. Even working across the aisle, he voted with the Republicans 90% of the time.  He was unwilling to co-sponsor the Dream Act.  He voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  No matter how moderate he presents himself, he is a real target and one of the more vulnerable Republicans in Congress.

 Articulate her vision and its authenticity.  Her website addresses the following:

  • Health Care – Improve the Affordable Care Act and protect Medicare
  • Environment — Work for renewable, non-fossil fuel energy.  Develop technological solutions to protect the country from climate change damage already done and the damage that looms ahead. No state in the country is more threatened by climate change than Florida.
  • Strong Communities
  • ImmigrationValue immigrants. Create an expedited track to citizenship for dreamers.  Create legal means for other undocumented to be part of the fabric of the country.
  • Education and the EconomyWork toward a free community college system and affordable four year colleges. Ensure that American youth are prepared for 21st Century jobs.
  • Gun SafetyCommon-sense solutions to the gun problem – universal background checks fat gun shows as well as gun stores to prevent the purchase of guns by those with a history of domestic violence, those with mental illness, and those for whom there is an indication that they may be terrorists. She knows this issue because her father was a victim of gun violence.
  • Tax ReformReal tax reform that helps working families and their communities not giveaways to millionaires.
  • Women– Equal pay for equal work, communities without discrimination against women in education, employment, or health care.  Paid maternity leave, affordable and available child child care, and reproductive freedom.  These all make communities where working families strive successfully for a better life

Raising enough money to get her message out.  She will put her fundraising experience to good use. She has raised already raised more than her primary opponents.  She needs to catch the incumbent who has more than a million dollars in the bank.  Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s target is $4 million.  She may need more than that.  Help her exceed her target.    Without that kind of help, the Democratic wave is a chimera.