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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Five political trends to watch for in Tuesday's Florida election



Here are five things to watch for in Florida's primary election Tuesday.

* ROI: This cycle is notable for the many deep-pocket Democrats and Republicans trying to buy their way into office with their own money. How many will get a good return on their investment? The Times/Herald's Michael Auslen found 27 candidates who have invested $100,000 or more and Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, is in a class by himself, having loaned his Senate bid $1.9 million for a job that pays less than $30,000 a year (his campaign motto, "Let Irv Serve," might well be "Let Irv Splurge.") If Slosberg doesn't beat Sen. Jeff Clemens, he could have a major case of buyer's remorse.

* Scott's 'slate': Entering his final two years as governor, Rick Scott needs all the help he can get in Tallahassee, and he has friends and foes on Tuesday who backed him or opposed him on economic incentive legislation in 2016. A test case is the Panhandle's Senate District 1, where he's rooting for Rep. Doug Broxson to beat Rep. Mike Hill, a target of aggressive ads by the Florida Chamber that highlighted Hill's no vote on a piece of Scott's jobs agenda. Three other GOP House members who also voted against Scott's priority, all in tough Senate races, are Reps. Matt Hudson, Debbie Mayfield and Greg Steube, and it's highly doubtful Scott's "slate" will prevail in all four. Scott is pulling especially hard for Mayfield's opponent, Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne.

* More red than blue: Republicans are much more interested in this election than Democrats based on vote-by-mail returns and early voting turnout in all 67 counties. Republican primary voters are disciplined, and if it's not a November vote for president, Florida Democrats are hard to motivate, especially in the three big South Florida counties. Pinpointing where Republican primary turnout is highest provides clues to where Donald Trump may have built-in advantages in November and where Hillary Clinton will need a get-out-the-vote effort on the scale of President Barack Obama's to win Florida.

* Family matters: Name ID is critical in politics and several candidates hope to ride the familiarity of their family names to victory. Rebecca Negron is running for Congress on the Treasure Coast where husband Joe is the next Senate president. Dena Grayson is running in Orlando for the congressional seat being vacated by husband Alan, a U.S. Senate candidate. And there's that Slosberg name again: Irv's daughter Emily hopes to take her father's place in a Palm Beach County House seat.  

* Black and white: Democratic newcomers in two open Senate seats -- both well-funded white lawyers -- hope to win seats drawn to maximize African-American voting power. Under the laws of redistricting, St. Petersburg lawyer Augie Ribeiro (SD 19) and West Palm Beach lawyer Michael Steinger (SD 30) are supposed to lose. If either prevails against black oppostion, expect a backlash that could last for a long time. Ribeiro, a successful personal injury lawyer from Connecticut, has three black opponents who could split the black vote and has saturated Tampa Bay with mail calling two of them, Reps. Ed Narain and Darryl Rouson, closet Republicans.

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 8:50am]


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