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RACE FOR CONGRESSIONAL SEAT LOOKS FAMILIAR

Brown-Waite and Russell recycle themes from their 2006 face-off for the seat.

This year's rematch between Republican Ginny Brown-Waite and Democrat John Russell features the same calls for change that have been ringing down from the national level. Russell chanted the mantra in 2006, but Brown-Waite beat him with 60 percent of the vote.

This time, Russell is pinning his hopes on the dismal condition of the nation's economy and the frustration among cash-strapped voters.

"People are voting against the status quo," he said. "It's the failure to act that put us in these positions."

Russell is criticizing Brown-Waite, who serves on the 70-member House Financial Services Committee and subcommittees that oversee capital markets, financial institutions and consumer credit.

Both Russell and Brown-Waite opposed the financial bailout package that eventually passed Congress.

The three-term incumbent is quick to trumpet partisan missives on the House floor with blistering rhetoric, such as blaming Democrats for this summer's high gasoline prices, which she labeled "a new hostage crisis."

She also sided with President Bush to oppose the expansion of a health care program for children of the working poor.

Brown-Waite, 65, aligns with her party 90 percent of the time in the current Congress, according to the Washington Post.

But she proudly calls herself a "maverick" and touts her bipartisan efforts, including her work with Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia on the greatest expansion of the GI Bill since World War II.

Originally a champion of the Iraq war, she changed her position in 2006. She now favors setting benchmarks for the Iraqi government before troop withdrawal.

And likewise this year, she switched her stance on offshore oil drilling as gas prices skyrocketed and voters demanded relief.

Russell, 52, is not afraid to take on opponents or his party, but it often gets him in trouble.

In October 2007, he became belligerent at a state Democratic Party event in Orlando. The fracas ended with a trespassing citation and a lifetime ban from all Disney properties.

"You're going to cause friction when you oppose someone," Russell said, chalking the incident up to inexperience.

His plan to help put people back to work includes small-business tax breaks and a crackdown on corporations that employ undocumented workers.

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