Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.
Florida Republicans will flip Senate District 3 red in three weeks, predicts Democratic consultant Matt Isbell.
Isbell, who is known mainly for his political breakdowns and map explainers of the Florida electoral landscape, released his state Senate ratings Monday, including his prediction that Republicans will pick up at least one more seat in November. His ratings outline 25 seats that favor Republicans, 14 seats that favor Democrats, and one tossup, a spread that would be enough for Republicans to win back a crucial three-fifths majority over the Senate, a threshold they lost in 2018.
The redistricting process traded one Democratic-held South Florida seat for a Republican-favored Central Florida seat. And while Isbell rates Republican Sen. Jason Brodeur’s match as a tossup in Senate District 10, he gives Republican challenger Corey Simon a slight edge over Democratic Sen. Loranne Ausley.
Republicans’ edge in the redrawn SD 3, which President Joe Biden would have carried by 3 points in 2020 instead of 9 points, comes down to the candidates and GOP spending.
Simon, a familiar face to Florida State University football fans, won a state championship and was named an All-American in the 1999 season. He also had a successful career in the National Football League.
The bottom line is Isbell predicts Simon to pick up an even larger share of the Black vote than his predecessor, Marva Preston, secured in 2020. Both Preston and Simon are Black Republicans, and African Americans make up 24% of the district’s voters.
Meanwhile, Ausley underperformed Biden by around 3 points, particularly among Black voters. And with Republicans repeatedly hammering her over a Democratic Party mailer that portrayed a picture of Simon on a shooting target, Ausley has drawn negative press in recent weeks.
With a three-fifths majority, Senate Republicans would be able to more easily pass legislation that requires such a threshold, such as proposed constitutional amendments. The hope for Democrats is that Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil unseats Brodeur and Ausley can paint Simon as a rubber stamp for Florida Republicans’ agenda.
“Ausley is in a negative news cycle in a district she was already clinging to,” Isbell writes. “The ground is shifting beneath Democratic feet in North Florida (outside Tallahassee-Gadsden), and Ausley increasingly looks like she will be a victim of it.”
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Quote of the Day
“Remember, one thing, Congressman (Neal) Dunn, the old he-coon walks just before dawn.”
— U.S. Rep. Al Lawson channeling the late Gov. Lawton Chiles.
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