Favorites win across the state and now gear up for November
WASHINGTON – Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy each easily won their Senate primaries Tuesday, setting up a November showdown that’s guaranteed to be nasty as each party grapples for a majority in the chamber.
Rubio, who decided at the last second to seek a second term, easily fended off millionaire homebuilder Carlos Beruff and Murphy used the backing of President Barack Obama and other Democratic leaders to defeat U.S. Rep Alan Grayson, who was counting on his party’s most faithful liberal voters to overcome Murphy’s money and establishment support.
In other races, U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown lost a primary as she faces felony fraud charges. She was one of the first African-Americans elected to Congress from Florida since Reconstruction. U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who recently resigned as Democratic National Committee chair, won her primary — the first tough race since being elected to Congress in 2004.
Rubio’s and Murphy’s victory speeches set the tone for the Senate race.
Elsewhere in the state, Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), facing a 22-count federal corruption indictment as well as a redrawn district, became the fifth House incumbent to lose a primary this cycle. Former state Sen. Al Lawson won the Democratic nomination in her stead.
In Florida, political watchers scoured primary returns in a bevy of House districts that were been redrawn just months ago by a court-ordered redistricting. At least seven of the state’s 27 House seats will have new representatives in January, and as many as eight more could see turnover.
Hotly contested primaries developed to fill the open House seats of Murphy and Grayson, as well as those vacated by the retiring Gwen Graham (D), Ander Crenshaw (R) and Curt Clawson (R).
Many of those races have been marked by the familiar national dynamic pitting the party establishment vs. insurgents. In the redrawn 2nd District, surgeon Neal Dunn eked out a victory over lawyer Mary Thomas, who had garnered support from national conservative groups such as the Club for Growth.