Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida congressional vulnerability rankings

Florida will be crucial to deciding the presidential election, but it's also a key state in this year's battle to control the U.S. House of Representatives. Eight of Florida's 27 congressional districts are at least somewhat competitive this year; the remainder are safe for one party or the other.

Below, we rate the seats based on the likelihood that they will switch party control in November. The higher the ranking on this list, the more likely it is that the incumbent party will lose control of the seat on Election Day. (Due to a quirk in the redistricting process, the No. 1 seat is a newly drawn district that neither party currently controls.)

1 Newly created seat, District 9: former Rep. Alan Grayson (D) versus Todd Long (R)

Grayson is a big-spending, outspoken liberal who was voted out of office in 2010 and who is now making a comeback in an Orlando-area district. The district is 41 percent Hispanic and it gave Barack Obama 60 percent of the vote in 2008, so Grayson is a heavy favorite.

2 Republican-held seat being vacated by Rep. Allen West, District 22: Lois Frankel (D) versus Adam Hasner (R).

West, a staunch conservative, abandoned this Democratic-leaning district to run for a different seat with more favorable demographics. That leaves two big political figures vying to represent portions of Boca Raton and West Palm Beach: Frankel, a former state House minority leader and West Palm Beach mayor, and Hasner, a former state House majority leader. Frankel is trying to play down her history of sharp elbows; Hasner is trying to play down the sharp right turn he took in his short-lived U.S. Senate bid, an ideological shift that seems ill-advised for a district that gave 57 percent of its vote to Obama in 2008. Frankel has a slight edge, but the contest remains close.

3 Republican seat held by Rep. David Rivera, District 26: Rivera versus Joe Garcia (D).

Rivera, a confidant of Marco Rubio during their state legislative days, faces a serious challenge in large part because of fallout from ethics questions. After a state investigation of his finances concluded without charges due to a statute of limitations, a new issue emerged, with the FBI looking into whether Rivera or his allies propped up an obscure Democratic primary challenger. (Rivera has denied the accusations.) The voters in the heavily Cuban South Florida district may not be waiting for a verdict; even a recent Republican poll had Rivera 10 points down to Garcia, his Democratic challenger. While Rivera's goodwill among Cubans is strong, he's looking vulnerable.

4 Newly created seat, District 18: Rep. Allen West (R) versus Patrick Murphy (D).

The contest between West and Murphy is one of the most bruising, expensive and, for TV viewers, entertaining races in the nation. First, Murphy aired an ad in which schoolchildren read intemperate phrases West had uttered. Then West hammered Murphy by contrasting his military service with Murphy's old arrest for verbally assaulting a police officer, capped by an unflattering mug shot. Murphy then shot back with an ad reminding viewers of the controversial circumstances of West's departure from the military, which followed an incident in which he fired a gun near the head of an Iraqi policeman he was interrogating. The contest in this district, which narrowly backed Obama in 2008, should remain close to the end.

5 Republican seat held by Rep. Dan Webster, District 10: Webster versus Val Demings (D).

Webster, who defeated Grayson in 2010, has a favorable district thanks to redistricting — Obama won only 47 percent of the vote in 2008. That's a big help in his race against a highly touted Democratic challenger, Demings – the daughter of a janitor and a maid who rose to become police chief in Orlando. Even a Democratic poll had Webster up by 5 points.

6 Republican seat held by Rep. Steve Southerland, District 2: Southerland versus Al Lawson (D).

Republicans appear to be getting just a little bit nervous about Southerland's chances of winning a second term. The National Republican Congressional Committee recently decided to start airing ads in this northern Florida seat, which was held for years by Blue Dog Democrat Allen Boyd. The NRCC's move came in response to a string of ads for Lawson, a former state senator. While the district is slightly more Democratic than it was before redistricting, it still only voted 47 percent for Obama in 2008.

7 Republican seat held by Rep. Vern Buchanan, District 16: Buchanan versus Keith Fitzgerald (D).

Buchanan has been hobbled by continuing ethics concerns, but his chances in the Sarasota-based district look stronger than they did just a few weeks ago. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reportedly withdrew a $230,000 ad buy that would have supported Buchanan's once-promising challenger, Fitzgerald, a former state representative. It didn't help that Fitzgerald had to deal with revelations that he had hired a communications director whose blog included sexually charged attacks against Republicans and even the pope.

8 Republican seat held by Rep. C.W. Bill Young, District 13: Young versus Jessica Ehrlich (D).

Young is an institution in the Tampa Bay area, having first won his seat in 1970. He's expected to win again, but it's worth keeping an eye on the Democratic nominee, Jessica Ehrlich, a former aide to members of both parties in Congress.

Florida congressional vulnerability rankings 10/06/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 6, 2012 8:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Richard Spencer coming to town? What UF can learn from other schools

    College

    With Richard Spencer's controversial visit to the University of Florida quickly approaching, some UF and Gainesville police officers boarded a plane bound for Berkeley.

    Thousands of people, many of them college students, gather for a vigil on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Va. on Aug. 16 -- four days after a Unite the Right rally that led to clashes and the death of a woman. In advance of an appearance Thursday at the University of Florida by white nationalist Richard Spencer, the school is looking at what happened in Charlottesville and other venues where controversial speakers have visited. [Jason Lappa | The New York Times]
  2. Trigaux: On new Forbes 400 list of U.S. billionaires, 35 now call Florida their home

    Personal Finance

    The latest Forbes 400 richest people in America was unveiled Tuesday, with 35 billionaires on that list calling Florida home. That's actually down from 40 Florida billionaires listed last year when a full 10 percent listed declared they were Floridians by residence.

    Edward DeBartolo, Jr., shopping center developer and  former San Francisco 49ers Owner, posed with his bronze bust last year during the NFL Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony in Canton, Ohio. DeBartolo remains the wealthiest person in Tampa Bay according to the Forbes 400 list released Tuesday. 
[Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]
  3. Today he secures Bucs games; 30 years ago he played in them

    Bucs

    TAMPA —- Whenever the Bucs play a home game, Sankar Montoute is on hand to supervise more than 50 officers from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on duty at Raymond James Stadium.

    Sankar Montoute, who oversees Homeland Security for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, was a replacement player for the Bucs during the 1987 strike. 
Montoute, who had a sack and interception in the same NFL game, oversees the 50-plus officers who work at Bucs games, most of whom have no idea he played. [Times files (1987)]
  4. Florida woman weighing 325 pounds charged with killing girl by sitting on her

    Crime

    PENSACOLA — A 325-pound (150-kilogram) Florida woman is charged with killing her 9-year-old cousin by sitting on the child as punishment.

    This Oct. 14, 2017 photo made available by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, Fla., shows Veronica Green Posey under arrest. Posey is charged with killing her 9-year-old cousin by sitting on the child as punishment. Posey, who weighs 325 pounds, first punished the girl with a ruler and metal pipe before sitting on her for at least 10 minutes. [Escambia County Sheriff's Office via AP]
  5. Girl, 8, got on 'tippy toes' to peer over cruise ship railing, then fell to her death

    Accidents

    MIAMI — A family cruise to paradise turned into a nightmare on Saturday, when an 8-year-old tumbled over the inner railings of a ship and fell to her death.

    Friends and family mourn Zion Smith, the 8-year-old girl who fell to her death aboard a Carnival cruise in Miami this weekend. [Image from Facebook]