Who’s up and who’s down in Politicsland?
↓ Democrats. Sure, it was only one congressional seat in far-off Florida. But Republican David Jolly’s election this week sent Democrats reeling.
Consider this: President Barack Obama had carried the district in 2008 and 2012. And Jolly’s Democratic foe, Alex Sink, carried the district when she ran for governor. A moderate, she was better known, had millions to spend and was backed by Bill Clinton.
A former lobbyist, Jolly had the support of former Florida governor Jeb Bush. But it was Jolly’s message that is especially unnerving to Democrats: End Obamacare.
←→ Republicans. Here is the party’s conundrum succinctly outlined in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. By almost 2-to-1, Republicans say a candidate’s affiliation with the tea party makes them more likely to back them. But by almost the same 2-to-1 split, all voters from across the country say they are less
likely to vote for a tea party candidate.
↓ Obama. His job approval has sunk to a new low of 41 percent, with midterm elections nearing.
↑ Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. In a big-time Senate showdown, McCaskill’s view of how to handle military sexual assaults prevailed.
→ Paul Davis. The Kansas Democratic gubernatorial candidate faces serious questions about his stand on Obamacare (see first item above).
And this week, Davis got caught exaggerating the number of teacher layoffs since Sam Brownback became governor. Davis said the number was in the thousands. It was closer to 200.
That said, he won the last few months, flipping conventional wisdom from “Brownback in a cakewalk” to “this is a real race.” Brownback is in trouble.
↓ Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Three in 10 Republicans won’t vote for Christie, thanks to Bridgegate. And half of all registered voters say they won’t back Bush, thanks in part to his brother’s presidency. The 2016 GOP race is as wide open as anything we’ve seen in decades.
↑ Mayor Sly James of Kansas City. One year from a city election, he’s dang near bulletproof.
↓ Medicaid expansion backers. There’s just no movement in Missouri or Kansas.
↑ The state of Missouri. Sen. Brian Nieves, a Washington Republican, announced this week he won’t seek re-election. Volatile. Unpredictable. Intensely partisan. Strident. He’s the type of guy, one lawmaker said, “who just might turn around and slug you any minute.” Good riddance.