Yesterday, the Orlando Sentinel published a story on former Police Chief and Congressional Candidate Val Deming‘s push to make the Orange County Mayor Race a partisan affair (that story HERE) and use incumbent Teresa Jacobs‘ party affiliation as a Republican against her.
The political math behind the strategy is simple enough. Orange County is a Blue County. Get your voters to the polls and you win. Sounds fairly simple. Right? It might be.
However, there are some real risks in going partisan for Demings, and that’s what I want to talk to you about today.
Let’s breakdown it down.
David Jolly vs. Alex Sink: OK. What does a Congressional race across the state have to do with a Mayoral race here in Orange? I’ll explain. Jolly’s win over Sink was considered a measuring tool for the mood of the country. Sink tied her campaign to President Obama and the Affordable Care Act and it costed her dearly. Right now, the President’s approval rating sits at 41% and while other Democrats all over the country, are creating space between their campaigns and the President, Chief is trying to embrace him. Are you sure you want to do that?
It’s a mid-term with higher Republican turn-out: Medicinal Marijuana will off-set this a little bit but expect more Conservatives at the polls this time around. Democrats took a beating in 2010 including Jacobs’ last opponent who went partisan. Most of your Supervoters are in Windermere, Winter Park, Apopka, and Winter Garden. Those are safe red. Demings has to make her money in East Orlando, Pine Hills, Eatonville, and Downtown. Is that going to be enough without Presidential race on the ballot? I’m not convinced.
The outside money will turn-off Voters: Deming’s fundraising haul up to this point includes a ton of outside, blue money. The local politicos in the area of the actual race don’t have enough faith in Demings to write her a check. Jacobs could go after Demings on this and it would play effectively in her favor. She’s got bi-partisan support
Partisan Politics Aren’t Relevant at the County Level: This is the biggest question mark of the entire strategy. Eventually, Demings will have to stand across the stage and debate Jacobs on the issues that affect the residents of Orange County, that they can control. If Demings tries to use R vs. D rhetoric on the debate stage, she’s going to look ridiculous in front of the voters (on TV likely). Her team is pushing this message and I’m convinced up to this point, it’s not only because she doesn’t know County Government like Jacobs (12 years to zero experience) it’s because that’s the only language her campaign leadership can speak. It’s a very small and impulsive political thought spectrum they’re operating on. It’s also a liability.
Drag Capitol Hill Politics to Rosalind Avenue and you’ll lose votes. I know it.
So there. Just a couple of reasons these tactics could backfire on Val Demings. I’ll reiterate that the math is still in her favor and it’s essential for her to turn out her voters but there are risks involved and everyone knows… You can lose once. Don’t lose twice. I’d hate to see a candidate like Chief take more bad advice from her campaign like she did in 2012.