LIVE Video Coverage: Florida Votes Today

Rubio, Murphy likely to win their primaries

WASHINGTON – Florida voters will go to the polls today and select the nominees for U.S. Senate, decide whether to amend the state constitution to give a property tax break to promote solar energy and have a say in who should represent them in the U.S. House. Here’s a look at the races and issues facing Florida on Election Day.

Barring one last second disaster incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio will win the Republican primary over developer Carlos Beruff, a strong supporter of the GOP front runner Donald Trump. He has spent $8 million dollars of his own money on his first run for office. He has repeatedly criticized Rubio for missing votes while running for president and failing to enthusiastically back Trump for president.

On the Democratic side two Congressmen Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson are the two leading are locked in a tough battle. That said it looks like Murphy will take this race because of his strong ground game, his ability to fundraise and the backing of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

To say it has been a tough year for U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz would be an understatement as she was at the center of a major email scandal as the chairwoman of the Democratic Committee. Now she is facing her first primary since winning office in 2004. Her opponent is Tim Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor and vocal Bernie Sanders.

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This will be a tight race and he is hitting Wasserman Schultz hard on her ties to big donors and Wall Street. Sanders endorsed Canova, leading to a flood of donations from outside Florida in what appears to be an effort to take revenge at the party establishment for the way the presidential primary was handled. Canova has raised about $3.3 million — more than Wasserman Schultz and an astounding amount for a first time candidate running against someone who has served the area for more than 24 years in the state Legislature and Congress

In the rest of the state with regard Florida’s congressional maps were changed last year after the state Legislature lost a court battle. The state Supreme Court ruled that lawmakers violated a voter-approved constitutional amendment requiring districts to be drawn in a compact manner that doesn’t favor incumbents or political parties.

So now there is one of the most active election years for congressional races. At least seven of Florida’s 27 U.S. House members will be newly elected due to members retiring or seeking other political offices.

Many of the state’s congressional primaries almost assure the victor will be elected in November because of the political makeup of the district. Republican primaries to replace retiring GOP Congressmen Jeff Miller, Ander Crenshaw, Curt Clawson and Richard Nugent will likely decide who is sent to Washington in November.


The same goes for the Republican primary to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, who is exploring a run for governor after her district was redrawn in a way that favors the GOP. Democratic primaries to replace U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy, who are running for Senate, will also likely choose the next members of Congress in those districts.

Solar panel on a red roof reflecting the sun and the cloudless blue sky

Lastly, voters will go to the polls to decide on a ballot measure to provide property tax breaks for people who install solar panels on their homes. Amendment 4 was placed on the ballot by a unanimous vote in both chambers of the Legislature. The increased value to a home from the installation of solar panels or other renewable energy devices can’t be considered when assessing homes to determine property taxes. Environmentalists and business interests support the measure, which must receive 60 percent approval to pass.

Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.