Saturday, October 20, 2007

SCHIPS & Miami Politics

Swing State has a post about South Florida districts where Democrats are targeting vulnerable Republicans who failed to try to override the president's veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program last Thursday.

In particular, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, F-18, could be especially vulnerable to a strong challenge by former Hialeah mayor Raul Martinez.

As a Cuban-American intimately familiar with the Miami culture, Howling Latina can easily see how voting with the Bush administration on an issue of health care for children might not sit well with members who remember their own health care safety net as newly arrived émigrés to the United States.

Martinez, a Cuban-American like Ros-Lehtinen, was mayor of Hialeah for 25 years and remains very popular with up until recently his own radio show.

Okay, the gig only lasted a week or so, but that's only because the radio station insisted that Martinez sign a statement avowing not to run for public office in the future.
Democrats are hopeful that, with strong challengers at the helm, the political landscape will shift...They're already touting polls that show Iraq and health care as the top concerns in the Diaz-Balart districts. It's worth noting that all three of these incumbents voted against the recent S-CHIP expansion package, and in support of the president's veto of the bi-partisan legislation. The DCCC is sensing an opportunity: they've begun airing Spanish-language radio ads in all three districts, hitting the incumbents hard over their unconscionable votes.
¡Si se puede!

Ros-Lehtinen came to Congress in August 1989 in a special election after Democratic Claude Pepper passed away. The district has a Partisan Voting Index (PVI) of +R4.3. The other two districts under DCCC's watchful eye are FL-21 and FL-25 with a PVI of +R 6.2 and +R4.4, respectively.

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