Now’s about when you would expect serious candidates for 2024 Senate election to let it be known they have an interest. For legal reasons, it often makes sense to delay a formal declaration until much later, but you would expect to see subtle online campaigns, maybe an exploratory committee or three. Yet on the Democratic side it seems awfully quiet.
Although far from great, the general political picture is more mixed than it might seem:
- Bad: Rick Scott, the incumbent, has basically unlimited funds to spend thanks to having ripped off Medicare before running for office.
- Good: Even with all that money, Rick Scott won by only 0.12% in 2018.
- Bad: Florida has trended strongly Republican since then.
- Good: FiveThirtyEight rates Florida as one of the two most likely Democratic pickups in 2024 (along with Ted Cruz’s seat in Texas).
- Bad: FiveThirtyEight only rates it as a “Silver” opportunity — there are no “Gold” or “Platinum” ones listed for Democrats!
- Good: Both Trump and DeSantis live here, making a target-rich environment.
- Bad: Both Trump and DeSantis live here, potentially increasing the GOP turnout if either is on the Presidential ballot.
- Good: President Biden has justly targeted Sen. Scott for his bone-headed attack on Social Security and Medicare, and would probably stump on this for a strong Democratic candidate. Rick Scott is vulnerable on this.
- Bad: the Florida state Democratic party is a total mess. And there’s not much a bench of plausible Senate candidates.
That last point is in my mind the key: I can’t think of any Democrats with a statewide profile who’d be a plausible candidate. Val Demings lost to Rubio, and I’ve seen no sign she wants another Senate race. That means the best Democratic candidate will be someone with a strong local base. I don’t follow local politics outside South Florida to even have an idea what the field is–which is a sign of the problem.