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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.

Adams and Mica were both drawn into this district, but there was an easy out. Mica’s current district makes up 72 percent of the redrawn 6th. Adams, a tea party favorite who currently represents just more than half of the 7th, announced in late January that she was running for this seat. A source close to her said she was under the impression that Mica wouldn’t run here and is quite surprised to be facing him in a primary.

Florida Republicans familiar with the new district said while it is a better fit for Adams, Mica probably has the early edge given the $860,000 that he had in the bank at the end of last year and the fact that he’s chairman of the Infrastructure and Transportation Committee.

Still, the National Republican Congressional Committee can’t be happy about this primary, which has the potential to divide along tea-party-vs.-establishment lines.

There are persistent rumors in Florida GOP circles that Mica might relent and run in the 6th to avoid a primary or retire. But Mica’s aides insisted he’s in the race in the 7th to win it.

“We wouldn’t be raising money if he planned on retiring,” Chief of Staff Wiley Deck said. “That’s not happening.”

The winner of the Republican primary will be heavily favored to win in November.

8th district
Incumbent: Bill Posey (R)
2nd term (65 percent)
Rating: Safe Republican

Posey should easily win another term in his central coastal district, which was shored up in the redraw.

9th district
New district
Rating: Likely Democratic

Congress, get ready! Former Rep. Alan Grayson, the outspoken liberal firebrand, is the likely Democratic nominee in this new Orlando-area district that would have voted 60 percent for Barack Obama in 2008. The central Florida region has seen a considerable increase in its Democrat-friendly Puerto Rican population in recent years, and that’s reflected in this new district, where 41 percent of the voting-age population is Hispanic.

Grayson, who has a penchant for articulating his progressive views in particularly punchy phrases, has had extraordinary fundraising success. He had $637,000 in the bank at the end of last year and no declared primary opponents.

In an interview last week, the triple-Harvard graduate (bachelor’s, master’s and a law degree) ticked through a few of his accomplishments during his two years in the House.

“We set up a mandatory mediation program that cut foreclosures [locally] in half,” Grayson said. He trumpeted passage of the Travel Promotion Act, which encourages international tourists to come to the U.S., and his cooperation with Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to get the Federal Reserve Board audited. And Grayson said he was proud he “changed the terms of the health care debate and introduced a moral element to the debate that turned out to be extremely important.”

The attorney is perhaps best-known for an inspired piece of political theater: his announcement on the House floor that he had found the GOP plan for health care reform. He declared that it was: “Don’t get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly.”

Republicans hope his outspoken views that sometimes veer into hyperbole end up turning off more moderate voters.

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