Marco Rubio's A-List
All legislative seats may be created equal, but some are more equal than others. Rep. Marco Rubio, the incoming House speaker from Miami, has labeled 16 "battleground seats" as the most "highly competitive" in the state in the 2006 election cycle. Four of the 16 are open seats, meaning that even with an 85-seat majority in the 120-member House, Rubio is looking to expand the Republicans' reach.
Those Democrat seats are House District 11 (Dwight Stansel, D-Wellborn, term-limited); H-23 (Ed Jennings, D-Gainesville, running for the Senate); H-27 (Rep. Joyce Cusack, D-DeLand, seeking re-election); and H-85 (Rep. Shelley Vana, D-Lantana, seeking re-election).
Three of Rubio's A-list races are in the Tampa Bay area. House districts 50, 51 and 52 are all currently Republican-held. The GOP candidates are Ed Hooper, Dottie Reeder and Angelo Cappelli, respectively.
Six GOP House members made the list, a sign Rubio is concerned about some of his incumbents. They are Reps. Larry Cretul of Ocala, Pat Patterson of DeLand, Dorothy Hukill of Port Orange, Shari McInvale of Orlando, John Quinones of Kissimmee and Susan Goldstein of Weston. In Cretul's House District 22 race, his challenger is Macky Thurman of Dunnellon, the son of Florida Democratic Party chair Karen Thurman.