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Florida - 8th District

Incumbent -- Daniel Webster (R) ; Defeated by Daniel Webster, R, in general election on November 2, 2010

Leans Republican
Race Ratings Key
 

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

Grayson rarely misses an opportunity to stick his thumb in the eye of Republicans, and his antics have put him at the top of GOP target lists.

He riled Republicans across the country last year when he took to the House floor and described the GOP health care plan as "don't get sick," and if you get sick, "die quickly." He hasn't dialed back the rhetoric since.

Republicans are certain that Grayson is too far left for his district, which had long elected Republicans before 2008. But they'll also have to figure out a way to deal with Grayson's vast national fundraising network, which has helped him raise about $4 million this cycle.

After a competitive primary, Republicans selected former state Senate Majority Leader Daniel Webster, a family values conservative who served in the Legislature for nearly three decades.

On the campaign trail, Webster is as much Grayson's opposite in style as he is in political outlook. Webster presents himself as the conservative, rational alternative to the liberal, fire-breathing Congressman.

Grayson isn't shying away from the fight and thinks voters respect him because he's shown he has the guts to stand up for what he believes.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has already bought nearly $1 million in airtime in the district, and it's a safe bet that it will be using some of that time to remind voters of the Congressman's more outrageous comments.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

One of Florida's few landlocked districts, the 8th is powered by the presence of Walt Disney World, Sea World and Universal Studios' resort in the Orlando area. The district surrounds western Orlando and includes upscale parts of the region, much of the city's downtown area, and the Walt Disney World complex. It then pushes north to take in parts of Lake and Marion counties.

Local tourism relies on out-of-state visitors and is vulnerable to economic slowdowns, but the industry is the 8th's undisputed economic leader. The local economy has broadened to include a technology sector headed by Oracle and defense and aerospace contractor Lockheed Martin. Health care and medical research facilities may help stabilize the 8th's economy.

Economic growth and redevelopment of downtown Orlando brought office parks and upscale condominiums to the city. A housing market collapse hurt the more well-to-do areas of the district, but a declining cost of living and plummeting home values made once out-of-reach areas available for some of the tourism-based workforce.

Both Orange County (Orlando) and the district as a whole have more registered Democrats than Republicans, but many residents back the GOP on social and economic issues. The 8th's population in Orange County is younger, wealthier and more educated than in most Florida districts, and the county's Hispanic population, which is mostly of Democratic-leaning Puerto Rican heritage, can put it within political reach of Democratic candidates.

Major Industry

Tourism, aerospace, technology

Cities

Orlando (pt.), 154,969; Ocoee (p.t), 34,896

Notable

There are more than 100 lakes in the Orlando metropolitan area.

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