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Races to Watch in Today's Florida Primaries

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Connie Mack IV is not among the most impressive Senate candidates, but given that all his serious primary opponents have dropped out, the Republican should post an impressive win today in Florida.

Adams, who has racked up impressive endorsements from the likes of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, never managed to put together the necessary ground game to beat a much better-financed opponent, GOP operatives in the state said. Though she had some significant support from the conservative grass roots, the outside spending that she would have needed to approach financial parity with Mica never arrived. Mica, quite conservative himself, began the race with very high name identification and appears likely to win comfortably.

9th District

Former Rep. Alan Grayson (D) and his allies have worked hard to ensure he faces an opponent other than Osceola County Commissioner John "Q" Quiñones, seen by both Democrats and Republicans as the strongest potential GOP general election candidate. The pro-Democratic House Majority PAC has spent about $81,000 encouraging GOP primary voters to choose a candidate other than Quinones. And the Grayson campaign has spent an as-yet-undisclosed amount in a similar effort.

Grayson is favored in the Democratic-leaning district no matter who the Republican candidate is, but Republicans think this could be a real race if Quiñones is the nominee. He faces attorney Todd Long, veteran Julius Melendez and businessman Mark Oxner. Long appears to have the momentum behind him, but this race is one to watch closely.

19th District

This strongly Republican district, left open by the decision of Rep. Connie Mack IV (R) to run for Senate, will elect a Republican to the 113th Congress. Who that will be is decided today in a fight among six candidates. The leading contenders are state Rep. Paige Kreegel and radio talk-show host Trey Radel. Also running are state Rep. Gary Aubuchon and former Capitol Hill aide Chauncey Goss.

"It's really a dogfight for Reidel and Kriegel, and I just don't see that Goss has the resources to do much," explained a Florida GOP operative involved in the race. That's probably about right. Recent public polling indicated Goss, endorsed by former boss Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), is in a battle with Aubuchon to finish third.

26th District

Who will take on embattled and vulnerable GOP Rep. David Rivera? That's the question facing Democrats today in the southern Florida district that stretches as far south as Key West. And the answer appears more likely than not to be former Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chairman Joe Garcia.

This is Garcia's third campaign for Congress in South Florida. He lost to Rivera in 2010 by more than 9 points. In 2008, Garcia lost to Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) by just more than 6 points. But if he wins the primary today, he'll have a shot at the seat. His opponent in today's race is businessman woman Gloria Romero-Roses, who has the tacit support of the Florida Democratic Party.

Party operatives believe Romero-Roses would make a much stronger candidate against Rivera and are less likely to play in the race if she isn't the nominee. Romero-Roses has run a good campaign, but Garcia definitely has the edge in today's race. His aides are cautiously optimistic, having consulted internal tracking polls.

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