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Ten Florida Races To Watch Tuesday Night

debbie_mucarsel-powell.jpg
Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE --- Florida voters Tuesday will decide the winners of dozens of congressional and legislative races throughout the state. Here are 10 races to watch:

--- CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 15: Lakeland City Commissioner Scott Franklin knocked off incumbent Congressman Ross Spano in the August Republican primary in the district, which is made up of parts of Hillsborough, Polk and Lake counties. Former television reporter Alan Cohn handily defeated two other candidates, including state Rep. Adam Hattersley, D-Riverview, in the Democratic primary. While Republicans have long represented the area, the GOP holds a registration edge of fewer than 8,000 voters.

--- CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 26: In this swing district, Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell unseated Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo in 2018 and now faces a challenge from Republican Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. The district in southern Miami-Dade County and Monroe County is a major battleground for Democrats and the GOP, with Democrats holding a registration edge of fewer than 12,000 voters. Mucarsel-Powell got 50.9 percent of the vote in defeating Curbelo.

--- STATE SENATE DISTRICT 3: When Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, ran for re-election in 2016, he captured 67.4 percent of the vote in a race that was largely ignored. But with Montford leaving office because of term limits, state Rep. Loranne Ausley, D-Tallahassee, has faced a fierce challenge from Crawfordville Republican Marva Preston in the race to replace him. Republican leaders have spent heavily on ads attacking Ausley. Democrats, however, hold a massive registration edge in the district, which includes Democratic stronghold Leon County and 10 rural counties.

--- STATE SENATE DISTRICT 9: Former Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, never had a close general election in his four successful state House campaigns. But as he runs in a Senate district made up of Seminole County and part of Volusia County, he is battling Democrat Patricia Sigman in a big-money race that is a priority of both parties. Democrats have made gains in recent years in Seminole County, which in the past was reliably Republican. Brodeur and Sigman are competing to replace term-limited Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs.

--- STATE SENATE DISTRICT 39: Like with Senate District 9, Democrats see an opportunity to flip this district, which is open because Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, faces term limits. Party leaders lined up early behind Rep. Javier Fernandez, D-South Miami, and Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez, R-Doral, and have poured money into the campaign. Similar to Congressional District 26, the district includes parts of southern Miami-Dade County and Monroe County and is almost evenly split between registered Democrats and Republicans.

--- STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 21: Gainesville Democrat Kayser Enneking almost defeated state Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, in the 2018 election, falling about 2,000 votes short. Now, she is taking a run at Rep. Chuck Clemons, R-Newberry, in a district that is made up of part of Alachua County and Dixie and Gilchrist counties. Clemons received 51.4 percent of the vote as he was re-elected in 2018, running up large margins rural Dixie and Gilchrist to offset a deficit in Alachua, where Democrats outnumber Republicans.

--- STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 26: In 2018, DeLand Republican Elizabeth Fetterhoff unseated Rep. Patrick Henry, D-Daytona Beach, in a race decided by 61 votes out of more than 61,000 cast. Now, Fetterhoff and Henry are back for round two in the Volusia County district. Fetterhoff had raised about $305,000 for her campaign account as of last week, while Henry had raised nearly $219,000, with both state parties also aiding the candidates. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district by almost 7,400 registered voters.

--- STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 60: One of the most-expensive House races has come in this Hillsborough County district, where Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, is trying to fend off a challenge from Democrat Julie Jenkins. Toledo had raised nearly $582,000 for her campaign account as of last week, while Jenkins had raised about $306,000 --- with Jenkins bolstered by small-dollar contributions from across the country. Toledo received 52.3 percent of the vote when she was re-elected in 2018, and the GOP has a registration advantage in the district.

--- STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 72: With a big majority in the House, Republicans often find themselves defending seats and have fewer opportunities to flip Democrat-held districts. But Sarasota County’s District 72 has been a sore spot for Republicans since Democrat Margaret Good won it in a 2018 special election and held in the 2018 general election. With Good running for Congress this year, Republican Fiona McFarland is trying to recapture the seat for the GOP in a race with Democrat Drake Buckman. Republicans have an edge of nearly 9,500 registered voters in the district.

--- STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 89: Delray Beach Republican Mike Caruso won this Palm Beach County district in 2018 by 32 votes out of more than 78,000 cast. Now, like the close race in House District 26, it is time for round two. Democrat Jim Bonfiglio, who lost the 2018 race, is back trying to win the district, which Republicans have been able to hold for years in largely Democratic-dominated Palm Beach County. Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district by 1,630 registered voters.