Larry Sabato moves Carlos Curbelo's CD 26 race to 'Toss-up' - Florida Politics

Larry Sabato moves Carlos Curbelo’s CD 26 race to ‘Toss-up’

Bad news for Carlos Curbelo, Brian Mast, and other Florida Republicans in vulnerable Congressional Districts in 2018 who voted for the American Health Care Act.

Only 21 percent of American voters approve of the GOP health care plan passed by the House last week, according to a Quinnipiac survey released Thursday. That’s a slight improvement over the 17 percent who approved of the first health care plan in

That’s a slight improvement over the 17 percent who approved of the first health care plan in March. Overall, the current health plan goes down 56 to 21 percent.

The bill has come under intense criticism from Democrats, who say that it will hurt Americans with pre-existing conditions. Republicans counter that the bill gives the individual states $8 billion to create high-risk pools for those citizens, but the public isn’t buying it.

Voters polled, in margins of 75 — 21 percent, including 59 — 34 percent among Republicans, that it’s a “bad idea” to give states the ability to allow health insurance companies to raise rates on people with pre-existing conditions.

Meanwhile, after the AHCA vote. Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” ratings downgraded Curbelo’s chances of retaining Florida’s 26th Congressional District seat next year. Sabato had CD 26 as “leaning Republican,” but now shifted it to “Toss-up” (the forecasting website is named after University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato).

Mario Diaz-Balart‘s position in Florida’s 25th congressional district was also downgraded slightly, going from “likely Republican” to “leaning Republican.” Diaz-Balart also voted for the AHCA.

Kyle Kondik, the managing editor for Sabato’s Crystal Ball, writes that Diaz-Balart’s seat is “only vulnerable in a wave environment,” adding that his district “also became a little less Republican last year.”

On the Democratic side, Kondik lists three congressional seats maintaining a “leans Democratic” outlook — Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 27th District, and Charlie Crist in Florida’s 13th District. The other seat is Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s seat in Florida’s 27th District.

After she announced last month that she would not run for re-election, the seat shifted to “Leans Democratic” because it now lacks an incumbent and is the most Democratic-leaning seat held by any Republican in the country.

As Kondik writes, the final story of the AHCA has yet to be written. Republican leaders say the bill they produce will be notably different from the House version.

However, that may not be enough to prevent Democrats from using the AHCA to run against Republicans in 2018. In 2010, Republicans had a field day blasting red-district Democrats over a cap-and-trade climate change bill that narrowly passed the House the previous year, even though it never got a vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Whether the Democrats can use this unpopular vote effectively against Republicans next year, of course, remains to be seen.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.
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