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Florida - 2nd District

Incumbent -- Allen Boyd (D) ; Defeated by Steve Southerland, R, in general election on November 2, 2010

Leans Republican
Race Ratings Key
 

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

Touted as a possible Senate candidate early in the cycle, Boyd barely survived a primary challenge and has a difficult fight to keep his seat in November.

The key issue for Republicans is the health care bill Boyd voted against in November but then voted for when it was brought back to the House floor this spring. Boyd's decision to support the legislation came as he was working to fend off a primary challenge from state Senate Minority Leader Al Lawson, who was running to his left.

In the wake of his health care vote, the National Republican Congressional Committee quickly labeled Boyd as one of the "flip-flop five" and painted him as a closet liberal masquerading as a Blue Dog Democrat. That hasn't helped the Congressman in a district that is becoming increasingly unfriendly, even to centrist Democrats.

Since the primary, Boyd has been working to heal the wounds of his fight with Lawson, refill his campaign coffers (he spent more than $2 million) and re-establish his moderate image.

Republicans have been busy promoting Steve Southerland, a funeral home owner from Bay County. Southerland is a political newcomer, but he has raised a respectable amount of money. Southerland is from the western end of the district, which will help him excite the large GOP base in the rural coastal counties.

The NRCC has already made a six-figure ad buy against Boyd, a sure sign it senses an opportunity in the Panhandle.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

The 2nd skims around Florida's Big Bend, from the Panhandle and state capital of Tallahassee (a slice of which is in the 4th) to the north-central part of the state. Taking in all or part of 16 counties, the 2nd has tobacco and peanut farms, forests and small towns.

The district's natural resources -- from the Gulf Coast beaches where oysters are harvested to abundant farmland and forests -- drive its economy, and there is a steady base of government employees working in the state capital. Panama City, in Bay County, relies on tourism and the economic contribution of Tyndall Air Force Base.

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans here, but many of them, including farmers and retirees, hold conservative views on fiscal and social issues. The exception is the Tallahassee area (Leon County), home to Florida State University and Florida A&M University. Bay County has a stronger conservative element, as do the smaller communities that ring the Gulf Coast. The district's black residents -- nearly two-thirds of whom live in Leon or neighboring Gadsden counties -- make up more than one-fifth of the population. Barack Obama took 69 percent of Gadsden's 2008 presidential vote, but John McCain won 54 percent of the district's vote overall.

Major Industry

Agriculture, government, manufacturing

Military Bases

Tyndall Air Force Base, 4,930 military, 874 civilian (2010)

Cities

Tallahassee (pt.), 174,994; Panama City, 36,484; Lynn Haven, 18,493

notable

Tallahassee's National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is home to the highest-powered magnet in the world.

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