Democrats rebound in Florida special election

Election winner Ted Deutch celebrates with family (AP)

Republican backlash over President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul had little effect in the nation’s first U.S. House race of 2010.

Florida Democratic state Sen. Ted Deutch handily won Tuesday’s special election to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler after his underdog GOP opponent attempted to make the contest a referendum on the massive health care bill.

“We’ve heard for months that tonight … is a referendum on health care, it’s a referendum on the (Obama) administration, it’s a referendum on what direction this country is going,” Deutch told supporters. “Let me tell you something, what we learned today is that in Broward County and Palm Beach County, Florida, the Democratic Party is alive and well.”

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Deutch, an attorney, had 62 percent of the vote compared to 35 percent for Republican Ed Lynch. No-party candidate Jim McCormick trailed far behind with just 3 percent.

Lynch, a 44-year-old West Palm Beach contractor, sought to make the race a statement on the health care bill in District 19, which includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties. About 40 percent of voters are senior citizens. But Lynch had a tough task. Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1 — 234,000 to about 111,000.

“Obviously, it’s not the results that we wanted,” Lynch said.

“But it proved that people are willing to get out there and take our country back,” he added of his supporters.

Wexler, a self-proclaimed “fire-breathing liberal,” left office in January during his seventh congressional term to head a Middle East think tank. He was hugely popular in the district, which voted about 65 percent for Obama in 2008.

Wexler, of Boca Raton, had endorsed Deutch, 44, who will now serve the remaining eight months of Wexler’s term, then will have to run in November for re-election.

Lynch had hoped public disdain for the health care bill and low congressional approval ratings would help him upset Deutch, widely seen as the front-runner. He lambasted the health care overhaul as a government takeover and the gutting of Medicare, while Deutch told voters it would provide immediate relief.

Lynch also slammed Obama’s stimulus bill as doing little to help the economy and called the president’s timetable to withdraw troops from Iraq “moronic.” Deutch said he would have voted for the health care overhaul and the stimulus bill and supports Obama’s Iraq strategy.

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  1. Almandine

    “But it proved that people are willing to get out there and take our country back,” he added of his supporters.

    Much to do… much to do.

  2. Mightymo

    Ya sure, Republiscum fear mongering without affect! Republiscum are really going to need to come up with a new game plan, the old one simply isn’t working.
    The inability of the right to prevent healthcare reform even though they used the filibuster more often in 2009 than during the entire decade of the 60’s, said absolutely “NO!” to everything, and praised the efforts of a bunch of idiot Tea Baggers, clearly shows that they are still the party of ineffectiveness.

  3. Emartin

    It’s a hugely liberal district so there is really no surprise. The real test when be when everyone is out voting in November as to whether they will keep the district or not. Why is it that all of you on the left have nothing to say intelligently about a subject without name calling or degrading your fellow Americans? Those of you who spew nasty comments obviously have not done any homework or research on what options were provided by anyone other than your party. Grow up. Understand what it is to be an American and realize the sacrifices our fathers and grandfathers made to provide the rest of us with a thing that is slowly fading away… Freedom.

    • Mightymo

      First and foremost, the right is far, far more prone to name calling than I or the left ever are; there simply is no argument against that!

      As far as the homework, what homework is required? I find it pretty clear to see that since Reagan, the largest deficits, and most destructive decisions to our nation have come, and continue to come from the right! When it comes to alienating Americans, no one does it better than a Republiscum!

      As far as growing up, it is the very sacrifices of our fathers and grandfathers that are in jeopardy under the right. Our freedoms have long been under attack by the right, and continue to be.

      I often wonder, when the right makes reference to losing “Freedoms” supposedly imposed by the left, what “Freedoms” are you specifically talking about?

      • Almandine

        The (political) left never imposes Freedoms, except the freedom for moochers to spend my money and presumably yours. The constitution guarantees individual life, liberty and property… that is, my liberty to spend my property my way, instead of having to bail out the moochers and the crooks.

  4. woody188

    Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1 — 234,000 to about 111,000

    So why would this qualify as a rebound? Isn’t this the status quo? The headline should read, “Democrat wins 2/3rds of vote in 2/3rds Democrat dominated district.” Whoopeedo.

    We need to ask Ted how many of his kids will be serving their country in the Middle East and about his membership in AIPAC.

  5. Lou Vaz

    I also would expect the democrat to win in this district. However, the Republicans are the ones who have been harping how democrats will lose their seats over the healthcare bill and it looks like they were dead wrong. The way the Republicans have been talking the healthcare bill should have put all Dems in danger of losing their seat. However, when it doesn’t go their way. The first thing they say is of course the Dem won, it’s a liberal district. The fact is the only reason the Republicans in the congress were saying such things is because they wanted to scare the dems on the fence to vote against healthcare. Luckily most dems didn’t fall for the Repubs old trick of fear mongering to get their way.