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Top Races in 2016: The South

Volunteer David Bowser peeks outside the Pinellas County Democratic Party headquarters in St. Petersburg on Election Day 2012. (Edward Linsmier/Getty Images File Photo)

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of looks at the most competitive House and Senate races in the 2016 election cycle.  

The South region includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.  

Florida Senate: The Democratic primary between the establishment favorite, Rep. Patrick Murphy, and colorful Rep. Alan Grayson doesn’t have any signs of slowing down. The Republican field includes a handful of candidates and may not even be set. Even with the nominations in doubt, the general election to replace GOP Sen. Marco Rubio is likely to be very competitive and could be impacted by the competitiveness of the presidential election at the top of the ballot. The race is a virtual must-win for Democrats to get back to the majority.  

Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rating: Tossup.  

Florida’s 26th District: Republican Carlos Curbelo knocked off embattled Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia in 2014 and Democrats are targeting the seat in 2016. A court-ordered redraw of the congressional map made the district more Democratic, boosting the chances of Democrat Annette Taddeo. But Curbelo won’t be easy to unseat, particularly with $1.2 million in campaign funds at the end of September. Democrats must win the seat to make a dent in the GOP majority.  

Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating: Tossup.  

North Carolina Senate: Democrats failed to get a top-tier recruit against GOP Sen. Richard Burr, but they haven’t given up completely. A combination of Democratic state Rep. Deborah Ross developing into a top candidate, Burr stumbling through a primary against 2014 candidate Greg Brannon, and Republicans imploding at the presidential level could put this seat at risk. Burr starts 2016 in good shape for re-election, but if this race is a barn-burner, it could be a sign of bigger problems for Republicans across the country.  

Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating: Leans Republican.  

What races would you add to the list?

Related:

Top Races in 2016: Mid-Atlantic States Top Races in 2016: New England Top Races in 2016: The Plains States Top Races in 2016: The West Top Races in 2016: The Southwest Top Races in 2016: Mountain Region Top Races in 2016: The Midwest Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016 Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.