Don’t count out Joe Negron in Florida’s 16th district

Negron is the Republican who was picked to replace disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley. Early on in the aftermath of Foley’s resignation from Congress, the election looked like a runaway for the Democrat in that race – Tim Mahoney. Via the NYT:

But in this least predictable of states, Joe Negron, the Republican choice to run as Mr. Foley’s replacement, is getting powerful help as the clock runs down, and now appears to be running almost neck and neck with Tim Mahoney, the Democrat.

With the National Republican Congressional Committee pouring nearly $2 million into the race and Gov. Jeb Bush campaigning at his side, Mr. Negron, a member of the Florida House, is hoping that even the misfortune of having Mr. Foley’s name on the ballot instead of his own — a consequence of the last-minute nature of the change — can be turned to his advantage. Republicans are posting signs urging voters to “Punch Foley for Joe” a reminder that a vote in the Foley column is actually a vote for Mr. Negron.

“I know this district, and we are not going to allow ourselves to be defined by the disgraceful actions of our former congressman” Mr. Negron said in an interview Wednesday. “I feel this tremendous momentum and energy among Republicans and conservative Democrats to keep this district in the Republican column.”

The numbers are on his side: 42 percent of voters here in the 16th Congressional District, which spans the state from Palm Beach to Charlotte County, are Republicans, and 36 percent Democrats. President Bush won here comfortably in 2000 and 2004, and most of the district (its boundaries were redrawn in 2002) has not sent a Democrat to Congress since the 1970’s.

[…]

A poll conducted in mid-October for The South Florida Sun-Sentinel showed Mr. Mahoney leading Mr. Negron by 48 percent to 41 percent, with 11 percent undecided. But this week two nonpartisan Congressional handicappers, Stuart Rothenberg and Charlie Cook, changed their assessments of the race from “leans Democrat” to “tossup.”

Mr. Rothenberg said voters seemed to have gotten past any confusion about the ballot, perhaps because news organizations had closely covered the race since Mr. Foley quit on Sept. 29. He also noted that Mr. Mahoney had begun attacking Mr. Negron by name in television advertisements — a sign, he said, that Mr. Mahoney is worried.

Here’s more encouraging news for Negron:

The First District Court of Appeal ruled that signs can go up saying a vote for Foley is a vote for Negron, if they also say a vote for Mahoney is a vote for Mahoney.

The appellate court both upheld and reversed parts of the lower court which granted an injunction stopping signs from being posted in polling places in counties in the 16th Congressional district.

The order prohibits the Secretary of State from posting its signs, which only mention Negron for Foley. The Judges said those signs “suggest favoritism on behalf of the Republican candidate.”

The Democrats are not appealing that ruling.

Learn more about Joe Negron here. If you’d like to contribute to his campaign, click here.

Wouldn’t it be something if, in spite of Foleygate, we held onto that seat?

Hat tip: Stop The ACLU

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