Eric Lynn’s victory within defeat
Eric Lynn notches up more solid endorsements.

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Lynn outperformed all congressional Democrats and the top of the ticket.

Had redistricting not shifted Florida’s 13th Congressional District north, looping in more GOP voters and turning it red, Democrat Eric Lynn would have defeated Republican Anna Paulina Luna, according to precinct level voting data analysis.

While redistricting is required every 10 years following the decennial U.S. census to account for population changes, many critics believe the CD 13 shift, as well as other districts throughout the state, were a partisan gerrymander.

Before redistricting, the seat was considered one of the most competitive in the country. But redistricting turned the district red, annexing the Democratic stronghold St. Petersburg into a neighboring congressional district. New boundaries shifted CD 13 west and north, covering the Pinellas County communities of Clearwater, Pinellas Park, Seminole and Palm Harbor, all where there were plenty of GOP voters to pick up.

Whether gerrymandering was at play or not, the fact remains: Lynn lost in the new district, but would have won in the old one, and voter registration data shows the shift benefitted the GOP, a fact that played out on Election Night.

Setting aside that what-if, Lynn overperformed as compared to other Democrats up and down the ticket on Election Night. Not only did he fare better than both gubernatorial Candidate Charlie Crist and U.S. Senate candidate Val Demings — his margin in CD 13 was -8 points while Crist lost by 17 and Demings by 14 — he did so despite undervoting down ballot. More ballots were cast overall in both the Governor’s race and the Senate race.

In a FiveThirtyEight voting data analysis of where Republicans performed well, CD 13 is included. But it is the only district listed where the actual vote margin was less than the partisan lean. In every other district analyzed, all in Florida and New York, Republicans did better or about the same as partisan leanings predicted. In CD 13, the partisan lean ahead of Election Day sat at about R+12, the actual outcome was R+8, a 4.1-point overperformance for Lynn.

By comparison, in Florida’s 26th Congressional District, the Republican lean was +13.6, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart finished at +41.8, a massive 28.1-point overperformance.

Similar trends were seen in Florida’s 28th Congressional District, at a more than 23-point GOP overperformance; Florida’s 27th Congressional District, at a 15.4-point GOP overperformance in a district that had a slight partisan lean for Democrats heading into the election; and in Florida’s 21st Congressional District, where GOP overperformance was at +13.4.

The only congressional district with a Democratic overperformance other than CD 13 was in Florida’s deep-red 1st Congressional District, where Democrats performed 2.3 percentage points better than expected.

Lynn drew Republican support from Belleair Shore Mayor Bob Schmidt, Seminole Vice Mayor Jim Olliver, Redington Shores Commissioner Jennie Blackburn, former Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala and Beverly Young, the widow of former CD 13 U.S. Rep. Bill Young, who had previously endorsed Amanda Makki over the Donald Trump-backed Luna in the GOP Primary.

And Indian Shores Mayor Patrick Soranno, registered with no party affiliation, also backed Lynn.

That may be an indication that Lynn’s efforts to run a moderate campaign, appealing to bipartisan support, represented a more successful message. And questions remain about whether Republicans can repeat the overall overperformance they enjoyed this year in the 2024 presidential year.

Given these numbers and the hope by Democrats that 2024 may be a chance to reset, a Lynn-Luna rematch appears on the horizon.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


4 comments

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    December 2, 2022 at 9:52 am

    Democrats are pretending to be “middle” to get elected. Then they’ll go back to their real selves. Don’t be fooled.

    • GB

      December 4, 2022 at 9:33 am

      I don’t think Marjorie Taylor Green or Bernie Sanders represent the middle. I will say though that more moderate democrats won in November versus radical loony right GOP members, guess we will see in Georgia Tuesday. Working from the middle seems to come from Dems, not GOP anymore. Reagan is rolling in his grave.

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Comments are closed.


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