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In Florida, the health care referendum that wasn't

After the GOP won a special Senate election in Massachusetts, every Republican candidate in the country became the "next Scott Brown." One of the would-be-Browns, Ed Lynch, made the rounds at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, making sure everyone got that message. And when the Affordable Care Act passed, Lynch took to the pages of Andrew Breitbart's Big Government to inform conservatives of the importance of his race for Congress in Florida's 19th district.

By contributing, 5, 10, or 20 dollars to our campaign, your donation will count towards a full and unequivocal REPEAL of the most dangerous legislation passed since this nation’s founding, as well as a vote against the pending power grabs that are in the works by the Obama administration[.]

The election is today, and you are not hearing many conservatives refer to it as a referendum on health care. The argument: Lynch screwed up. On March 30, Lynch was hit with a foreclosure lawsuit, for owing nearly $650,000 in house payments. He only raised $81,000 for the race, while Democratic frontrunner Ted Deutch raised more than $1.5 million.

At the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, several Florida activists told me that Lynch was toast, but said that this wouldn't and shouldn't reflect on the chances of long-shot nominees against entrenched Democrats like Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz later this year. Tellingly, Rick Santorum referred to the upcoming May 18 special election in Pennsylvania's 12th district as the "first" post-health care reform referendum. It's another sign that whether or not you're welcomed as a "tea party candidate" depends less on your connection to the movement, more on your ability to win.

By David Weigel  |  April 13, 2010; 10:54 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , Health Care  
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