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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Congressional candidates overshadowed but battling to last minute



Tomorrow carries not only big implications for the Florida U.S. Senate and gubernatorial contests but will set the field for a number of competitive U.S. House races. Just as the top-line primaries have gotten ugly so too have a few of the congressional ones.

CD 24: Republican Craig Miller launched a last-minute mail attack on Karen Diebel questioning her mental health. "It's desperate, it's dirty and proves Craig Miller lacks the integrity to serve in the U.S. Congress," said Diebel spokesman Anthony Bonna. The attack line, based on 911 calls from Diebel's home, was previously advanced by Democrats (background here).

Miller and Diebel face several other candidates, including Sandy Adams, itching to take on Democrat incumbent Rep. Suzanne Kosmas of New Smyrna Beach.

CD 25: Front-runner Republican David Rivera of Miami continues to take heat from Paul Crespo and other opponents over domestic violence allegations. Democrats, who have seen the story picked up by numerous Capitol Hill publications, just produced this web ad hitting Rivera on a number of fronts.

Rivera spokeswoman Sarah Bascom said this afternoon:

"This ad further proves that the Democrat Party never let the truth get in the way of a political ad. To be clear, David Rivera has NEVER been accused of domestic violence by anyone other than his political opponents.  Even the victim in this case from 1994 has submitted a signed affidavit clearing this up once and for all."

Bascom said it showed Democrats are concerned their candidate in the open seat, Joe Garcia, cannot beat the Republican nominee. The seat is held by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who is running for the CD 21 seat held by retiring brother Lincoln.

Not as vitriolic but equally interesting is the CD 2 Democratic primary between Al Lawson and incumbent  Allen Boyd. The winner will likely take on Panhandle Republican Steve Southerland.

And then there's the crowded CD 8 GOP primary featuring Dan Webster, Kurt Kelly, Todd Long, Bruce O'Donoghue and others who would face incumbent Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:23am]


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