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The Sky, It Continues to Fall

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Since commenters need continual input that Democrats are likely to do well in 2018 if we work hard or they go into full Chicken Little mode, here’s another piece of good news from tonight’s special election in Florida:

Democrats just flipped their 36th state legislative seat this cycle. Tuesday’s win in Florida House District 72 was not only yet another Democratic win in a seat Trump carried in 2016 by a 51-46 margin, but it was also a stark reminder for Republicans of how much trouble they may be in at the ballot box in November.

Democrat Margaret Good, an attorney and community activist, defeated Republican James Buchanan 52-45 percent, improving on the 2016 Democratic presidential performance in this Sarasota County-area district by 12 points. This historically Republican seat, which has a GOP voter registration advantage of around 13,000, became vacant upon the abrupt resignation of a freshman lawmaker in August 2017.

Buchanan is the son of Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan, who has represented the area in the U.S. House since 2007. Perhaps the elder Buchanan’s influence is what helped turn Republican attention to this otherwise under-the-radar state House race, or perhaps Republicans are just trying to fight the narrative of Democratic success arising from the apparently inexorable trend of the GOP losing seats in special elections. Whatever the reason, national-level Republicans shifted into high gear to save this seat in the contest’s final days.

A late poll had Rep.-elect Good pulling slightly ahead of Buchanan on the even of the election, 48-45 percent—a 6-point swing from a Jan. 24 poll that had Buchanan in the lead with 49-46 percent. This shift in polling fortunates came on the heels of a Trump-style Buchanan rally on Sunday that featured a guest appearance from former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and chants of “lock her up,” because that’s where Republicans still are, apparently.

Turnout was a record for a Florida House special election, at least going to back to known numbers in 2008. Moreover, defeating the son of a sitting Republican congressman in his own district is a significant thing, especially considering national Republicans decided to go all-in here.

….As for the special election in the Oklahoma Senate district (the panhandle moreover) that Trump won by 73 points, it was a 37 point swing to the Democrats. Which still means Republicans won by 36. But that shift is not so far out of line with other Oklahoma special election races since November 2016.

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