TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — With about two months before Florida’s primary, the most exciting event to watch outside the Democratic nomination for governor is the mad scramble to fill congressional seats.
The departure of four U.S. House members, Florida’s acquisition of a new seat in Congress and a redistricting process that has shaken up the state’s political maps have combined to create interesting races in the Aug. 23 primaries.
Qualifying for Florida’s ballot ended Friday, and while there’s a competitive primary between U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried for the Democratic nomination to face Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, congressional races will get a lot of attention as Republicans try to regain power in the U.S. House.
One of the most crowded primaries is for an Orlando-area district that favors Democrats. Former U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson and Corrine Brown are among 10 candidates. Brown of Jacksonville recently served two years in prison in a charity and tax fraud case. The conviction was thrown out and she pleaded guilty to a single tax fraud count to avoid a second trial.
Grayson, known for his inflammatory remarks, was first elected to Congress in 2006, but lost reelection. He returned to Congress in 2011 for two more terms before giving up the seat for an unsuccessful Senate bid. Two years later, he lost an attempt to be elected to the U.S. House again.
The seat is open because Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings is running for Senate. Among other Democrats on the ballot are state Sen. Randolph Bracy. There are six Republicans seeking the nomination.
In a district between Tampa and Lakeland that should favor the GOP, five Republicans are seeking the nomination, including former Secretary of State Laurel Lee, state Sen. Kelli Stargel...