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Could race for Ros-Lehtinen's seat hurt Democrats seeking Curbelo challenger?


In this week's episode of "Beyond the Bubble," our weekly McClatchy newspapers political podcast, we asked Florida Democratic political consultant Steve Schale about the race to replace Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen -- specifically, whether it might hurt Democrats hunting for someone to challenge Rep. Carlos Curbelo.

"I worry about that," Schale said.

A bunch of Democrats have expressed interest in Ros-Lehtinen's seat -- but so far no one has filed against Curbelo. Both Republicans represent Democratic-leaning, Miami-based seats.

"Good candidates for any elected office tend to be very rational actors," Schale said. "If you look at history, it's always easier to win an open seat."

Ros-Lehtinen's 27th district "is probably four to five points better for a Democrat" than Curbelo's 26th district, Schale added. "I do think that a lot of your top-tier candidates are going to look at this seat first."

But Schale noted that if a strong competitor emerges in the Ros-Lehtinen field, others might then shift their campaigns elsewhere.

Listen to the full interview below.