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Florida: Deutch Wins Nod Easily, Moves to April Special

Florida state Sen. Ted Deutch is well on his way to becoming the next Congressman from the Sunshine State’s 19th district after winning the Democratic nomination in a special primary Tuesday against former Broward County Commissioner Ben Graber.

Deutch will face Edward Lynch (R) in the April special election. But in this heavily Democratic district in southeastern Florida, the final outcome is all but assured. Lynch, who had tried to unseat the now-retired Rep. Robert Wexler (D) in 2008, eked out a slim victory over Joe Budd in the GOP primary Tuesday night.

Deutch had a much easier time with his race.

Deutch earned Wexler’s endorsement soon after the former Congressman announced in October that he would step down from his seat, and Deutch went on to gain the support of other local, state and national Democratic leaders. Deutch’s fundraiser with former President Bill Clinton in January pushed his fundraising past the $1 million mark.

Stearns Endorses Kelly in Grayson Race

Another member of Florida’s Republican delegation is getting involved in the race against outspoken Rep. Alan Grayson (D) in the 8th district.

Rep. Cliff Stearns is backing state Rep. Kurt Kelly in the crowded GOP primary in Central Florida.

Florida Reps. Tom Rooney (R) and Gus Bilirakis (R) had endorsed wealthy real estate developer Armando Gutierrez Jr., but he dropped out of the race this week, and Orlando businessman Bruce O’Donoghue, who was courted by the National Republican Congressional Committee at the end of 2009, joined the fray.

Other Republicans in the primary are attorney Todd Long, retired pilot Dan Fanelli and physician Ken Miller.

In dropping out of the contest, Gutierrez said he wanted to devote his efforts to bringing a professional baseball team to Orlando.

“At this point, I feel I can do more for the Central Florida economy by bringing a baseball team to the community than I can as a Member of Congress,” he said.

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