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Race Ratings: Florida Offers Democrats Chances at Pickups

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Steve Southerland's race in the 2nd district is one to watch in Florida.

Still, Southerland is an incumbent, and Bembry has to both prove himself and win a primary. If 2010 primary candidate and former state Sen. Al Lawson gets in the race, that could make the primary a real contest. And thereís the wild card of former state Sen. Nancy Argenziano, a former Republican who is running as an independent.

The district is one of Democratsí better opportunities for a pickup in the state, but itís not tossup territory yet.

3rd district
Incumbent: Cliff Stearns (R)
12th term (71 percent)
Rating: Safe Republican

Democrats donít have any shot in this district, but that doesnít mean itís going to be an easy stroll to another term for Stearns. He faces a real primary challenge from state Sen. Steve Oelrich, who is prohibited by term limits from running again for his legislative seat. About a third of the districtís population is new to Stearns, so heíll have to introduce himself to a lot of new voters.

He doesnít live in the new 3rd, but he plans to move there. Stearns has the edge, but keep an eye on this primary.

4th district
Incumbent: Ander Crenshaw (R)
6th term  (77 percent)
Rating: Safe Republican

In redistricting, the 4th was consolidated into a more compact district in the stateís northeastern corner. But Crenshaw will still have most of his current districtís population, and he should cruise to an easy re-election victory.

5th district
Incumbent: Corrine Brown (D)
10th term (63 percent)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Maybe a Republican will think itís a good idea to run against Brown in 2012. But in a majority-minority district that would have gone more than 70 percent for Barack Obama in 2008, it would be a foolish endeavor. Brown should easily win another term in her serpentine-shaped district, which meanders from Orlando to Jacksonville.

6th district
Open seat: John Mica (R) is running in the 7th district.
Rating: Safe Republican

The Republican primary has just begun for this seat, which has been represented by Mica for years. Given that Mica decided to run in the 7th ó where he lives ó on Feb. 10, more candidates are still likely to jump in the race for this coastal Republican district that stretches from the Canaveral National Seashore through Daytona Beach up north past St. Augustine.

Former restaurant executive Craig Miller, who switched to this race after dropping his Senate bid, comes with a federal campaign account that had about $150,000 in it. But other candidates will probably give him a run for his money.

In the race now: attorney Ron DeSantis, 33, who served as a Navy JAG officer. Closely eyeing the race is state Rep. and former  Ormond Beach Mayor Fred Costello, who strategists tell Roll Call would be a very formidable contender.

In the end, if Mica doesnít move back to this district, whichever Republican can raise the most money will probably win.

7th district
Member-vs.-Member: Sandy Adams (R) vs. John Mica (R)
1st term; 10th term
Rating: Safe Republican

If no one blinks, this one could be a bruiser.

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