Dem challenger drops bid to unseat Rooney

Democrats can probably say goodbye to their hopes of winning back former Rep. Mark Foley's (R-Fla.) seat again.

St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Craft is dropping his bid against Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), according to the Palm Beach Post. Craft hadn't been raising much money, and the district failed to meet the cut when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) recently announced the first round of top targets for its Red to Blue program.

“This is a time of historic proportion,” Craft said in a statement. “We have not had an economic downturn like this since the Great Depression. ... We are now faced with an enormous budget shortfall and a situation that requires the undivided attention from each of our county’s elected officials."

Craft becomes the most recent top Democratic candidate to pack it in. As its 2010 outlook dimmed, the party in late 2009 lost candidates running against Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) and Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.).

The Florida seat went to Democrats in 2006 after Foley was implicated in a sex scandal involving House pages. His successor, Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.), then fell victim to his own sex scandal in late 2008 and was unseated by Rooney.

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