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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

What to watch for in today's Fla primaries

14

August

Steve Bousquet:

In today's statewide primary election, story lines and subplots abound.

Beyond the numbers and the winners and losers, here are five questions the primary results will answer:

A good night for Gaetz? Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, the next Senate president, is playing favorites and spending millions at a level not seen before in GOP Senate primaries, as he seeks to lock in his preferred line of succession to the presidency for six years. On Gaetz's must-win list are Aaron Bean in Jacksonville, Tom Lee in Hillsborough and Rep. John Legg, running in a new Pasco/Hillsborough Senate district.

Luck for Latvala? Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater, a Republican moderate who's battling to clinch his own Senate presidency in 2016, has a slate of must-win Senate candidates as well, led by Bean's opponent, Rep. Mike Weinstein, and Rep. Jim Frishe in a newly carved Pinellas/Hillsborough Senate district. (Latvala also backs Lee and Legg.)

A DLP dynasty? It would be highly unusual for three members of one family to be in the Legislature at the same time. Two Diaz de la Portilla brothers — DLP for short — are looking to make history as Alex and Renier, both former lawmakers, run for open House seats in Miami-Dade. A third brother, Miguel, has already been re-elected without opposition to the state Senate. "DLP Caucus" jokes can't be far away.

Mack's margin? Every poll shows U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV a heavy favorite to capture the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. The only suspense appears to be the size of his victory margin over three lesser-known and under-funded challengers. If Mack breaks 60 percent, he'll have some momentum. If he doesn't break 50, watch for Democrats to pounce.

Bound for Congress? Tuesday's election will, in effect, decide the outcomes of two heavily Republican congressional districts. In suburban Orlando, incumbent Reps. Sandy Adams and John Mica play musical chairs, with one relegated to retirement. And in Mack's old seat in Southwest Florida, six GOPers are in a free-for-all, including state House members Gary Aubuchon and Paige Kreegel, former local radio talk host Trey Radel and Chauncey Porter Goss, the son of Porter Goss, who used to represent the region in Congress.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 9:22am]

    

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