Shark to the swamp? Manjarres "exploring" run for Congress

Over the last fourteen years of blogging, one question repeatedly comes up: When will you run for office? My standard answer is: If I wanted to run for office, I wouldn’t have spent the last 14 years publishing my every political/cultural thought. Most other bloggers seem to have come to the same conclusion; it’s rare to see one cross over from commentary and reporting to electoral politics; although my friend Flip Pidot has tried it a couple of times.

Another friend, Shark Tank blogger Javier Manjarres, may give it a go next year:

“After speaking with my trusted colleagues, friends and family about future career opportunities, I have decided to explore the possibility of running for the U.S. Congress in Florida’s 22nd congressional district. It was clear that after the historic 2016 elections, Americans rejected the agenda and policies of the outgoing Obama Administration that they believe were threatening the American way of life.

Even with Republicans in control of congress, it is of the utmost importance that Republicans continue to win the public’s trust and reform all aspects of the federal government. It is time for all pouting members of the U.S. House of Representatives, who have been comporting themselves like petulant obstructionist children, put the American people first before political ideology or party, and remember that they are 1 of 435 individuals tasked to serve all Americans, regardless of the race, color, sexual persuasions, or political party affiliation.

I look forward to having a substantive and productive dialogue with not just the residents of south Florida, but with the American people at large.”

Javier could face long odds for this seat in FL-22. The current incumbent, Ted Deutch, is on his fourth straight term in the southern district, although he’s been shifted around because of redistricting. Conservative Republican Allen West won a term in the seat, but redistricting forced him to run for FL-18, a race he lost. The shifts make the seat’s history a little fragmented and difficult to read for trends, but Lois Frankel won it twice before Deutch got redistricted into FL-22, and he won handily in 2016, 59/41. The district has a Cook rating of D+6, which might underestimate the strength of Democrats in this Broward-Palm Beach district.

The Sun Sentinel notes the difficult road ahead for Javier, and suggests that he may be operating as a wild card to force Deutch into focusing on his own back yard in 2018:

Independent analysts don’t see Deutch as vulnerable. The nonpartisan Inside Elections political report rates the district as “solidly Democratic.” Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics considers it so unlikely to change parties that the 22nd Congressional District isn’t even among the 70 districts it’s issuing ratings on for 2018.

Voter registration figures show the district is 42 percent Democratic, 29 percent Republican and 29 percent no party affiliation/independent voters. In 2016, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump won Florida by 1.2 percentage points, but Democrat Hillary Clinton won the 22nd Congressional District by 16 points. …

Political parties sometimes run candidates against incumbents who are seen as sure bets for re-election, hoping that lighting strikes and they can win, but more often to tie up the incumbent campaigning and spending campaign cash at home instead of being able to help the party’s other candidates elsewhere.

On the flip side, people with long-term goals in politics will often try running in low-percentage challenges to incumbents in order to gain contacts and credibility for later efforts. Mitt Romney did that in the mid-90s when he took on the thankless task of challenging Ted Kennedy for his Senate seat, a move that put Romney on the political radar for a later successful gubernatorial run. If Javier has longer-term ambitions for political office, a test run against Deutch might make a good first step.

We’ll talk with Javier tomorrow on The Ed Morrissey Show about his potential run, and what challenges it will bring. Be sure to tune in.