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Fla. GOP Chooses Stand-In for Foley

While official Washington continues to churn over the burgeoning scandal surrounding Florida Rep. Mark Foley (R), Republicans in Florida are trying to move on, selecting state Rep. Joe Negron to be the recipient of all votes cast for the outgoing incumbent on Nov. 7.

The selection of Negron by the Florida Republican Party executive board was unanimous, and the newly-minted candidate immediately began campaigning. "Republicans don't want to lose this seat," Negron told the Miami Herald. "The people of this district support the president, and so do I. It's going to be tough, but I'm ready."'

Tough is an understatement. Republicans face a number of problems in their attempt to hold this seat. The biggest is the fact that Foley's name will be on the ballot Nov. 7 and Negron's won't. That means Republicans must educate voters that a vote for Foley is a vote for Negron, while simultaneously persuading voters that choosing Foley's name on the ballot does not condones his conduct. And did we mention they have to do all of that in five weeks?

The Republican argument that the 16th district seat is reliably Republican holds true -- to a point. President George W. Bush won it with 54 percent in 2004 and 53 percent in 2000, numbers that are solid but not spectacular. According to the Cook Political Report, the 16th district carries a Partisan Voting Index (PVI) of just R+2 -- meaning that the seat voted just two percent more Republican than the nation as a whole in 2004. To put that in perspective, the only Florida districts currently held by Republicans with worse PVI's are Rep. Clay Shaw's 22nd (D+4), where a competitive race is underway, and Rep. Bill Young's 10th (D+1). Rep Allen Boyd's (D) 2nd district has a PVI of R+2.

Make no mistake, Republicans are in very serious jeopardy of losing this seat in the fall. Check back early tomorrow for the latest House Line to see where the Florida 16th district is ranked.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 2, 2006; 5:48 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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