Republican Club updated on Congressional races

Republicans need to take care of their incumbents across Florida, including Congressman Tom Feeney, whose district includes Southeast Volusia, a party executive told the Southeast Volusia Republican Club at its April luncheon at the New Smyrna Yacht Club.

We need to focus on getting our incumbents re-elected, getting them funded," said Russell Peck, director of Congressional Affairs for the Republican Club of Florida.

There are 75 races nationally, and with 30 Republicans retiring or not running again, some of he races are wide open, he said. Funding is another issue, he said, with Democrats having a $38 million war chest for Congressional races while Republicans have a mere $5 million.

Peck told local Republicans the party has a fighting chance.

"The Democrats have the majority, but they have a number of seats to protect," Peck said.

Asked by locals if there were a chance Republican presidential nominee John McCain could visit Volusia County, Peck answered it was a "good possibility."

Local Republicans said they were pleased with the answer and had concerns of their own for Peck to pass along to party elders.

"(State Rep. John) Mica is very popular -- he cold help Feeney if he could be out there," one person suggested.

Another commented, "The perception of the House right now is we have a bunch f wusses and (Speaker of the House Nancy) Pelosi is holding us by the throat. I think here in Florida it's fine, but I don't see any guts up there. It's been that way since I've lived here seven years."

Another focused on Feeney and one of his possible Democratic challengers, State Rep. Suzanne Kosmos: "High tech is very important to this area. He can deliver. She can't."

-- Henry Frederick