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Incumbents and Favorites Hold On in Congressional Primaries

August 23, 2010 - 6:00pm

While the close battle for the Republican gubernatorial nomination and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meeks demolishing of Jeff Greene for the Democratic nomination in the U.S. Senate election won the headlines, there were a number of dramatic contests in congressional primaries across Florida on Tuesday.

CD 2: Congressman Allen Boyd faced a challenge in the Democratic primary from Senate Minority Leader Al Lawson of Tallahassee. Boyd defeated Lawson by the smallest of margins -- 51 to 49 percent with more than 82,000 votes already counted. Republicans were already targeting Boyd and this primary result puts a huge bulls-eye on the congressmans forehead. Funeral-home owner Steve Southerland smoked the Republican field -- winning 47 percent with more than 60,000 votes cast. Southerland defeated Eddie Hendry, Ron McNeil, Barbara Olschner and David Scholl.

CD 3: Incumbent Congresswoman Corrine Brown beat attorney Scott Fortune for the Democratic nomination. Fortune waged an aggressive campaign, attacking Brown for her opposition to redistricting measures backed by FairDistricts Florida but hetook only 20 percent of the vote with more than 42,000 votes counted. Brown will be a heavy favorite over businessman Mike Yost who won the Republican nod. With more than 19,000 votes counted, Yost took 46 percent while businessman Dean Black won 35 percent. Duval County Young Republicans President Chris Nwaskie placed third with 19 percent.

CD 5: Hernando County Sheriff Rich Nugent defeated conservative activist Jason Sager in the Republican primary to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite. With more than 84,000 votes counted, Nugent pulled 62 percent. He should be a favorite against Democrat Jim Piccillo in November.

CD 6: Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns defeated former Winter Springs City Councilman Don Browning for the Republican nomination. While Browning offered a spirited challenge to Stearns, the incumbent took 71 percent of the more than 70,000 votes counted. Stearns will be a heavy favorite in November when he takes on independent candidate Steve Schonberg.

CD 9: League of United Latin-American Citizens activist Anita de Palma beat attorney Phil Hindahl for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis in November. With almost 28,000 votes counted, de Palma pulled 59 percent, but she will be an underdog against Bilirakis.

CD 11: With 85 percent of the almost 34,000 votes counted, Congresswoman Kathy Castor easily turned away a challenge from Marine vet and tea party activist Tim Curtis for the Democratic nomination. In November she will face Republican Mike Prendergast, a veteran of the Army and former aide to Bob Graham. With more than 23,000 votes counted, Prendergast took 47 percent, enough to beat contractor and Vietnam veteran Thomas Castellano who carried 28 percent. Eddie Adams, who had the Republican nomination in 2006 and 2008, placed third with 13 percent and consultant Tony Buntyn trailed with 12 percent.

CD 12: In the race to replace U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, who is the Republican nominee in the race to be the states next commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, the favorites won the Republican and the Democratic nominations. In the Republican primary, former Rep. Dennis Ross had 69 percent against John Lindsey with almost 48,000 votes counted. On the Democratic side, Polk County Elections Supervisor Lori Edwards crushed Doug Tudor who ran against Putnam in 2008. Edwards took 75 percent and Tudor 25 percent with almost 33,000 votes counted.

CD 13: Just like 2008, Congressman Vern Buchanan defeated fire-alarm contractor Don Baldauf for the Republican nomination. With more than 73,000 votes counted, Buchanan pulled 83 percent to win the primary. With more than 32,000 votes counted, former Bradenton City Councilman James Golden won 57 percent to defeat businessman Rick Eaton for the Democratic nomination, though he will be an underdog to knock off the Republican incumbent.

CD 16: Army veteran and contractor Jim Horn won 68 percent of the more than 30,000 votes counted to defeat Ed Tautiva, a middle school teacher, to earn the Democratic nomination to take on Republican Congressman Tom Rooney in November. Rooney will be a heavy favorite over Horn in the general election.

CD 17: In the crowded Democratic primary to replace U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens, won 35 percent with more than 48,000 votes counted, defeating her eight rivals in the race. Dr. Rudy Moise placed second with 16 percent. With no Republican in the race and only an independent candidate in Wilsons path in this heavily Democratic district come November, Wilson appears headed to Congress

CD 20: There was a close battle between three Republicans fighting it out to take on Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Restaurant owner Karen Harrington won 40 percent of the more than 18,000 votes counted, edging Broward County businessman Robert Lowry who took 38 percent.
Donna Milo placed third with 22 percent.

CD 22: Democratic Congressman Ron Klein defeated Air Force veteran Paul Renneisen in the primary. Klein won 84 percent of the more than 26,000 votes counted. Retired Army officer Allen West, who lost to Klein in 2008, earned a rematch. With more than 38,000 votes counted, West took 77 percent of the vote against David Brady in the Republican primary. This will be one of the most watched congressional races in the nation come November.

CD 25: With Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart vacating this seat to run for the seat now held by his brother Lincoln, Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, won the Republican nomination over attorney Marli Cancio and Marine Corps vet and professor Paul Crespo. With more than 29,000 votes counted, Rivera took 62 percent, Crespo pulled 27 percent and Cancio garnered 11 percent. Obama administration appointee Joe Garcia, who once chaired the Miami-Dade Democrats and ran for the seat in 2008, won 76 percent of the more than 15,000 votes counted to defeat labor activist Luis Meurice in the Democratic primary.

Reach Kevin Derby at or at (850) 727-0859.

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