The 17th Congressional District of Florida includes all of Charlotte, Okeechobee, Highlands, Glades, Desoto, and Hardee counties, and parts of Hillsborough, Polk, Lee, and Manatee counties.
18 September 2013
As you may know, we received 41% of the vote on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012. Though not what we wanted, it was a remarkable showing considering our late start, my lack of previous involvement in Florida politics, and the huge war chest (over $1,000,000) incumbent Tom Rooney used against me.
Our results indicate that there is an interest in our ten counties for an alternative to the current agenda of the Republican dominated House of Representatives.
It is unfortunate, but most of the Republican Party and others in the Democratic Party have become the instruments of corporatism. The huge monopolies have penetrated deeply into both major political parties. But predominately, the middle class and poor are being defended by the minority of progressive Democrats in Congress against the ravages of huge money interests.
Just three quick examples: On May 23, 2013, a Senate amendment by Bernie Sanders to permit states to label genetically modified food products failed by a vote of 27 to 71. Only one Republican voted for it. 43 Republicans and 28 Democrats voted against allowing states to label GMOs. Why? It would interfere with Monsanto's huge profits at the expense of our health. Monsanto spent millions to defeat a labeling referendum in California last year.
Second: The Smith/Amash Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would protect your right against indefinite retention by the military and provide other 4th Amendment protections was voted down in the House on May 18, 2012 by 219 Republicans against and 163 Democrats for protecting our rights.
In June 2013 the interest rate on student loans jumped from 3.4% to 6.8% and the Senate voted to restore the rates back to the lower amount. All
Republicans voted to keep the higher rate, while all Democrats, fortunately a slim majority, voted to return to the lower rate. Banks currently pay less than 1% for their loans and slightly more to
depositors. Since our economy can barely find jobs for our graduates, should they be punished with high interest rates and part time work?
Friends, we are getting killed by "friendly fire." Those we thought were our friends are killing us!
Knowing that fundraising in this race would be difficult to impossible, I spent most of my time meeting the voters throughout the district. Many were enthusiastic about my progressive agenda, defending Main Street against the ravages of Wall Street and Washington.
I invite you to revisit our website to get more information about my background and my stance on the issues. If you would like to help me run again in 2014, please drop me an email or call me personally to express your views. I am interested in your opinions and would greatly value your support as I run again, in fact, I just filed my candidacy papers last week.
I will update the website from time to time especially in the blog section which is being added. Please refer to the resource pages for informative books and CDs/DVDs on the issues. I am especially concerned about the threat to our nation's health from genetically engineered foods. I have posted an article on that issue that I wrote recently and would be happy to speak to you or your friends or group on this or any other relevent issues.
Thank you to my many new friends who supported our last campaign. I hope to meet you again soon on the campaign trail. Please stay in touch. You can call me anytime at 239 940 6080 or write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below please find an interesting review of last year's Congressional races in Florida and why I think I should run again. Let me know what you think. Thanks.
A Rationale for
Challenging FL17 Congressional District Race in 2014
by Will Bronson, Democratic candidate FL 17 2012.
Because Florida Congressional District17 is listed as R+10 on the Cook PVI (Partisan Voter Index), the conventional “wisdom” is that the Congressional District race shouldn’t be challenged by a Democrat or targeted by their state or national organizations. I don't agree.
Cook's PVI compares the presidential Republican/Democratic vote split in a specific geographic area with the last two presidential overall
national vote splits. Therefore Florida as a whole leans Republican, that is R+2, because Obama got 2% less votes in Florida than he did nationally. In the 17th Congressional District, he got 10%
fewer votes than he did nationally, making FL 17 R+10, leaning strongly Republican.
The Florida State Democratic Party targeted 9 Congressional races in 2012 and won 4:
Those 5 targeted races that lost were as follows:
A major factor in political outcomes is the relative strength of the opposition or challenging political candidates, a factor that is not seen by PVI numbers. But still the advantage goes strongly to incumbents. Less than one in ten incumbents is ever beaten because they can easily attract money and support from those looking for favors. Tha is why when an incumbent retires and the seat becomes open, everyone is interested in challenging.
In light of the above races, the 41.3% that we won in District 17 which is R+10 is pretty good against a well funded incumbent. The last candidate against Rooney got 33% and spent far more than I did. My final figures for spending was about $18,000 which included the $10,000 that I personally contributed to pay the entry fee.
(I didn't expect to be able to raise money or be targeted. But by posting a relatively strong showing, it would set up a more serious effort in 2014. I don't see any reason to abandon that strategy now.)
In considering the PVI as primary indicator for targeting races consider the following:
So politics is an inexact science and targeting based on PVI numbers can be misleading.
Time and chance happen to all. Look at the history of the 17th: two sex scandals handicapped the two previous incumbents who were defeated (Republican Foley lost to Democrat Mahoney who lost to Republican Rooney). What if they were unopposed? We want the American voters to have alternative candidates.
The argument that we must conserve resources and only work in targeted races, Governor and 3 House seats, is, in my opinion, also faulty, partly as explained above.
We are in a huge ideological battle. We need as many people as possible in the field making our arguments in order to reach a tipping point. More and more citizens are seeing that the Republican Party has become the servants of big money interests while progressive Democrats are trying to defend the interests of Main Street against Wall Street.
The same voters that I convince will support a Democratic governor, and those whom our gubernatorial candidates reach will probably vote for me. And primaries are good for the parties that have them.
As a candidate my views carry more weight than if I am just another campaign worker. Why let seats go uncontested. Our six Democratic incumbents sat in safe districts but spent $7 million combined that might have helped win in other races, not to mention the $16million Sen. Nelson spent on his comfortable (53%) victory. The huge amounts of money spent in the Obama campaign that refused to even acknowledge untargeted candidates that he desperately needed in Washington was another missed opportunity.
To leave the field now and abandoned the 116,000 voters who chose me, leaving them with no choice but to give Rooney or his successor a free ride
would, in my opinion, be a serious mistake. It would also release some of his funds to spend against our
In summary, in 2014 we need all hands on deck and a positive attitude. Change will not come if we only engage in "safe or close" races. This strategy has resulted in Florida (R+2) having only 10 of 27 Congressional seats and a Republican dominated state house.
I don't expect to change the State party's views or purported strategy to only target and support 4 races in 2014. But, in my opinion, they should not discourage other races or primaries.
For more information call Will Bronson at 239 940 6080 or write at email@example.com or PO Box 1507, Lehigh Acres, FL