Times columnist Ernest Hooper offers his analysis of key races for the Aug. 24 primary.
These are not endorsements.
U.S. Congress, district 12
Riverview resident and Navy veteran Doug Tudor makes his second bid for this congressional seat after losing to incumbent Adam Putnam in 2008. This time, he challenges former Polk County Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards, whose name recognition in Polk makes her a favorite to win the Democratic nomination. Tudor comes out on top only if he can produce a huge Hillsborough advantage and slice into Edwards' popularity in Polk.
On the Republican side, former state Rep. Dennis Ross looks to cruise past John W. Lindsey Jr., thanks largely to a passel of endorsements from big names like Putnam, Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee.
In November this race could get really interesting with Edwards potentially facing off against Ross and tea party candidate Randy Wilkinson, who hopes to siphon support from both sides of the political spectrum.
U.S. CONGRESS, DISTRICT 11
In a normal year, the four Republican candidates (Eddie Adams, Tom Castellano, Mike Prendergast and Tony Buntyn) would vie to determine who loses to incumbent Kathy Castor. But there's nothing normal about 2011, and the GOP nominee can't be counted out. Adams has more campaign experience, having twice lost to Castor, but it's Prendergast some have tabbed as a possible favorite.
On the other side, Castor takes on a challenge from a rare breed, a tea party-backed Democrat named Tom Curtis. The unpredictable is possible, but Castor possesses too much popularity and support to be knocked off.
U.S. CONGRESS, DISTRICT 9
A Bilirakis (either Mike the father or Gus the son) has held a seat in Congress since 1983. I'm sure Democrats Anita de Palma and Phil Hindahl think they can upset Gus, the incumbent, but my chances of winning the Powerball lottery are better.