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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Democrats have tough midterm elections ahead

ORLANDO — As the waiter delivered a heaping tuna salad sandwich and waffle fries, Bill Jones cut to the chase about U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson.

"He's totally lost my vote with how he's acted publicly, and health care just plays into that," Jones said from his sidewalk table at Dexter's, a busy downtown spot.

Two years ago Jones, a 44-year-old consultant, was one of the independent voters that helped the blunt-talking Orlando Democrat win a seat in Congress. Today the health care debate has collided with Jones' fears about the economy. "The idea is valid," he said, "but we don't have the money to pay for it."

Big and bold — just like Grayson — the 10-year, $938-billion health care law remains the most polarizing issue among voters. Along with the economy and frustration toward Washington, it has made targets of dozens of Democrats nationwide.

The threat runs across Florida, in Grayson's sprawling suburban district, in the Space Coast district of fellow freshman Rep. Suzanne Kosmas and in the one-time Panhandle safe haven of Rep. Allen Boyd.

Welcome to the midterms, an election cycle that could keep the country on its current course or totally upend the balance of power. (story here)

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:36am]


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