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2020

Barack Obama endorses slate of Congressional, down-ballot Florida Democrats

Obama rolled out his second wave of nationwide endorsements Friday.

Former President Barack Obama is weighing in on one of the state’s most competitive Congressional races with an endorsement for Alan Cohn in Florida’s 15th Congressional District.

The former Democratic President tweeted a sweeping “second wave” of 2020 endorsements Friday morning including Margaret Good in Florida’s 16th Congressional District, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in Florida’s 26th Congressional District and Donna Shalala in Florida’s 27th Congressional District.

“I’m proud to endorse these outstanding Democratic candidates who will work to get the virus under control, rebuild the economy and the middle class, and protect Americans’ health care and preexisting conditions protections from Republican assault,” Obama wrote. “They’re dedicated to shoring up and strengthening our democracy, a project that’s going to take time and require all of us—but it begins by electing Democrats right now. So give these candidates your vote—and vote early if you can, either by mail or in person.”

Obama’s Florida endorsements also include state Senate candidate Loranne Ausley and House candidates Joshua Hicks, Kayser Enneking, Patrick Henry, Geraldine Thompson, Jim Bonfiglio and Franccesca Cesti-Brown.

Both Cohn and Good are running to flip red seats blue while Mucarsel-Powell and Shalala are fighting to retain their seats in Congress as Democrats look to grow, or at least maintain, their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this week added Cohn to its Red to Blue Program, which aims to flip seats from GOP control. Mucarsel-Powell, running in what is probably the state’s most competitive Congressional race, is part of the DCCC’s Frontline program, which seeks to channel resources into contested races in which Democratic incumbents face credible challenges.

Shalala faces a rematch of her 2018 election against Republican Maria Elvira Salazar. While an internal poll from the Salazar campaign shows the Republican with a slight edge, Shalala carried the district two years ago by 6 percentage points.

Good, meanwhile, faces a tough road in defeating longtime incumbent Vern Buchanan in his Sarasota district. A series of campaign missteps have left Good a target for negative campaigning. That includes improper expenditures and a changed vote in the Legislature where she now serves.

Good changed her yes-vote to a no on a bill that initially passed unanimously to ban the sale of childlike sex dolls. Good has since said the change was a mistake — she meant to change a vote on a different bill — but it has nonetheless resulted in harsh criticism and claims she supports pedophiles.

Buchanan has since revitalized a federal bill already approved in the House, but stalled in the Senate, to institute a federal ban.

Congressional races in Florida may carry even more weight this year than the typical fight for majority representation. Florida’s Congressional delegation is controlled by Republicans. That could be an issue in the event of an electoral vote tie in which the race could be decided in Congress. Currently, Trump would win that vote. Democrats would have to flip four of five states — Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Alaska or Montana — in order to change the outcome in their favor.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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