The Florida primary will be a scramble for seats in the US House of Representatives

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — About two months before the Florida primary, the most exciting event to watch outside of the Democratic nomination for governor is the mad scramble to fill congressional seats.

The departure of four members of the US House of Representatives, Florida’s acquisition of a new seat in Congress and a new election process that has rocked the state’s political map made for interesting races in the August 23 primary.

Qualification for Florida’s ballots ended Friday, and while there’s a competing primary between U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried for the Democratic nomination versus Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, congressional races will get a lot of attention when Republicans try to regain power in the US House.

One of the most crowded primary elections is for an Orlando-area district that favors Democrats. Former US Reps Alan Grayson and Corrine Brown are among the 10 candidates. Brown of Jacksonville recently served two years in prison on a charity and tax fraud count. The conviction was overturned and she pleaded guilty to a single count of tax fraud to avoid a second trial.

Grayson, known for his inflammatory statements, was first elected to Congress in 2006 but lost re-election. He returned to Congress for two more terms in 2011 before giving up the seat in an unsuccessful Senate bid. Two years later, he lost an attempt to be re-elected to the US House of Representatives.

The seat is open because Democratic US Rep. Val Demings is running for the Senate. Among other Democrats on the ballot is State Senator Randolph Bracy. Six Republicans are running for the nomination.

In a district between Tampa and Lakeland that should favor the GOP, five Republicans are seeking the nomination, including former Secretary of State Laurel Lee, state Senator Kelli Stargel and state Representative Jackie Toledo. Five Democrats are running for the nomination.

Several Democrats hoped to replace Crist in a St. Petersburg seat, but the district was moved in favor of Republicans, and everyone left except Eric Lynn, who served as an adviser to the secretary of defense during President Barack Obama’s administration.

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