There will be – and already are – a vast number of post-mortems about how Barack Obama won Florida. But, the best take so far is the one appearing in this mornings Palm Beach Post.
The highlights of his success are that Obama successfully cut down on Republican success throughout the state, in counties like Duval, Sarasota, Polk, Lee, Collier, Pasco, and Escambia, as well as surpassing Kerry’s success in strongholds like Orange and Alachua counties. It should also be noted that Obama took both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, which Kerry lost.
Obama was able to reach out to moderates across state while driving up turnout in his base. He spent a great deal of time in traditionally red coutnies, especially Northeastern Florida. DraftAlex mentioned his last rally in the state in Duval county, and how that area had become a strong focus for the campaign. The goal of the campaign was never really to win in areas like that but rather to drive out the vote, cutting down on Bush’s wins in 2004, Crist’s in 2006.
Even though overall turnout was down in Florida, Obama was able to expand outside the traditional approach of driving up margins in Miami and Pam Beach to be the first northern candidate to win Florida since FDR.
But on this blog the question we ask, does Obama’s victory give us a roadmap to victory in 2010?
The last competitive statewide election was 2006. The differences between Jim Davis results and Obama’s victory this week are stark. The only two counties that Jim Davis did better than Barack Obama were in Jefferson and Madison counties in the panhandle. And Davis did about as well as (or as badly) Kerry throughout the I-4 and many of the red counties that Obama won.
In the same election, however, Alex Sink posted similar results overall to what Obama produced 2 years later. But, she won a number of counties Jim Davis didn’t. Alex won in Pinellas and narrowly lost Hillsborough (which Obama won). Just like Obama, Sink won big in Orange, Alachua county and Miami-Dade. But
Sink also won Pasco, Glades, Calhoun, Franklin, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Jackson, Lafayette, Levy, Liberty, Putnam, Sarasota, Suwanee, Taylor, Volusa, Wakulla, and Citrus county- lost by Davis, Kerry and Obama.
The path to victory in 2010 is still the same as it was in 2006 and 2008. Democrats need to cut into Republican areas; we may not need to win- and in a competitive gubernatorial contest against Charlie, wouldn’t- all the counties that Alex won in 2006, but we would need to make a strong dent into Republican leads.