Florida Democrats’ best — and possibly only — chance for a flip is Senate District 39, and Rep. Javier Fernandez is the best equipped to make it happen.
He has proven he can win in a swing district, he has legislative experience, and he has raised enough money to go toe to toe with Republican Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez.
If he makes the November ballot, it could come down to a coin flip.
And that is definitely an if, not a when.
A new St. Pete Poll’s survey shows that Fernandez has an edge over Democratic primary rival Dan Horton-Diaz, but not a big one. Just 24% of voters are behind Fernandez, while 16% say they’re voting for Horton-Diaz. Three-fifths are undecided.
There are some caveats: This was an English only IVR poll, the sample size was 203, and the margin of error is plus or minus 6.9 percentage points.
Still, even at the extreme of that margin, the Fernandez would be the pick for less than a third of voters. That’s being generous, too, considering St. Pete Polls is among the most reliable pollsters in the state.
It’s August. The election is less than two weeks away. Early voting has already begun. Mail ballots are being stamped and sent in daily — more than 10,000 have already been returned.
Yet, a poll taken this week shows a sitting lawmaker with party backing has an inside the margins lead over a tomato can.
Fernandez can raise all the money in the world and the Florida Democratic Party can keep saying SD 39 is ripe for the picking, but if their handpicked candidate ends up struggling through a what should be a warmup match … well, that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does it?
For Fernandez’ and FDP’s sake, here’s hoping St. Pete Polls called the 203 least knowledgeable voters in the district.