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After Tough Florida Loss, Democrats Focus On November Turnout

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
On Wednesday, Walden cited GOP-leaning districts where Republicans’ special-election victory in Florida could be particularly troubling for Democrats.

“I know Democrats are delirious from not sleeping last night, but their spin is getting down-right ridiculous,” Daniel Scarpinato, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement Wednesday. “They just lost an Obama district they were favored to win because of their continued support for ObamaCare, and now they have no plan how to win the Romney-voting congressional districts where they are desperately playing defense.”

As examples, the NRCC, led by Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon, cited the GOP-leaning districts held by Reps. Nick J. Rahall II, D-W.Va., John Barrow, D-Ga., and Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., where Tuesday’s result could be particularly troubling for Democrats. The NRCC also launched a “money bomb” effort, using its 2-point victory in the tossup district for an online fundraising plea.

By holding the seat of the late C.W. Bill Young, Republicans still have a 17-seat lead in the House, which is a high hurdle for Democrats to overcome. The GOP was also infused with a fresh sense of optimism for the party’s chances at winning the Senate.

In its daily newsletter, the National Republican Senatorial Committee said the race “exposed a sleeper issue” — Medicare Advantage — “that is giving already nervous Senate Democrats like Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu and especially Kay Hagan the shakes.”

On the conference call with Israel, Democratic pollster Geoff Garin said Democrats will see a turnout benefit in November — compared with Tuesday — simply because they are regularly scheduled elections. However, he conceded that the health care law did play a role in boosting Republican turnout in Florida’s 13th District, something the GOP believes will be true this fall as well.

“The one thing we do have to reckon with and acknowledge is that the Affordable Care Act was a motivating issue for Republicans to turn out and vote — and less so for Democrats,” Garin said.

Abby Livingston contributed to this report.

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