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Florida - 5th District

Incumbent -- Ginny Brown-Waite (R) ; Will retire at end of current term (announced April 30, 2010)

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key
 

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

Brown-Waite endorsed Hernando County Sheriff Rich Nugent on the same day she announced her retirement in late April, and he has held the inside track to follow her in Congress ever since.

Nugent's landslide victory in the August Republican primary made him the runaway favorite to win the conservative west coast district, where registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats.

Besides Brown-Waite, Nugent has also received high-profile GOP endorsements from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

He faces Army veteran Jim Piccillo in November.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Located north of Tampa on Florida's west coast, the 5th includes Hernando, Citrus and Sumter counties, as well as portions of Pasco and four other counties. The district makes up the southern half of Florida's Nature Coast along the Gulf of Mexico, and the district's eastern edge, in Lake County, extends to the greater Orlando area.

Tourism, integral to the 5th's economy, is centered on the Nature Coast. Gated communities and golf courses clustered on the coast served as havens for retirees, while the area's beaches, snorkeling spots, preserves and parks, and historic towns attract visitors. Agriculture is a mainstay in the district's less developed areas. Levy County in the north depends on cattle, dairy and nuts, while the southeast part of the 5th relies on citrus.

Controlled growth has been important here as the region expanded with a steady influx of retirees and young professionals. Over the past decade, the population grew by 45 percent, and the district is the fastest-growing and most populous in the state ahead of decennial remapping.

Social Security, prescription drugs and veterans' affairs dominate politics in the 5th, where more than one-fifth of residents are 65 or older. The 5th's electorate is largely conservative, especially on fiscal issues. Republicans outnumber Democrats in voter registration and 17 percent of voters are independents. John McCain took 56 percent of the 5th's 2008 presidential vote.

Major Industry

Tourism, service, agriculture, health care

Cities

Spring Hill (unincorporated), 98,621; Wesley Chapel (unincorporated), 44,092

Notable

Weeki Wachee Springs water park is known for its live "mermaid" performances.

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