Still Waiting for Media Hysteria on Florida House Campaign

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist covering U.S. politics. A political scientist, he previously wrote "A Plain Blog About Politics." He is co-editor of "The Making of the Presidential Candidates 2012."
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It's starting to look as though I'm in for my first failed prediction of 2014. With less than two months to go, political reporters and pundits are (as far as I can see) avoiding hyping the upcoming special election in Florida's 13th Congressional District.

The particular occasion for this observation is a very nice reported piece by Susan Davis about how the national Republican position on flood control is causing problems for Republican candidate David Jolly's campaign against Democrat Alex Sink.

I'm both surprised and impressed. This election is a perfect opportunity for know-nothing pundits to make grand statements about how this election will indicate What Will Happen in 2014 or Whether Obama is a Lame Duck or even What Will Happen in 2016. The seat opened up after longtime Republican C.W. "Bill" Young died in October. It's a 50/50 district and an excellent opportunity for Democrats, in part because Sink is the former Democratic gubernatorial nominee. The race matters because in the House, every seat matters. But it doesn't really say anything predictive about the future, or even about how Barack Obama is doing now.

All too often, the news media can't help itself; it over-interprets events. There's still plenty of time to backslide; the election is scheduled for March 11. But perhaps political reporters will get this one right: It's an important race. That's enough.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

(Jonathan Bernstein covers U.S. politics for Bloomberg View. He is co-editor of "The Making of the Presidential Candidates 2012." Follow him on Twitter at @JBPlainblog.)

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor on this story:
Frank Wilkinson at fwilkinson1@bloomberg.net