Tampa Bay Area Races Heat Up
With 94 days until the 2012 election, races in the Tampa Bay area are heating up as strong Democratic candidates continue to make waves against embattled Republican incumbents. Saddled with the baggage of Gov. Rick Scott's toxic approval and the anti-incumbent environment in Florida that gives Democrats at +2 advantage, Democrats across the region are closing the gap on their GOP opponents in races that are top targets for state and national Democrats:
- CD-16: Democrat Keith Fitzgerald out-raised incumbent U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, who has been plagued with ethics and legal trouble, for the third consecutive fundraising period. But Buchanan's fundraising struggles are the least of his worries — he may be held in contempt of court after skipping out on his court scheduled deposition, and the scandals surrounding this embattled Congressman are having a serious impact on his party's chances this fall.
- CD-13: On the heels of incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Young's "get a job" remark to questions about raising the minimum wage, Democrat Jessica Ehrlich is capitalizing, holding a town hall meeting focused squarely on addressing the needs of the middle class families that Young has abandoned during his decades in Congress. In another sign that Young is out of touch and has become part of the problem in Washington, he's facing additional questions surrounding his acceptance of an Olympic Torch from then lobbyist Mitt Romney — a violation of House ethics rules.
- HD-68: Dwight Dudley, Democratic candidate for House District 68, slammed Republican incumbent Rep. Frank Farkas for siding with corporate utility interests over Florida's families by voting for a bill that allowed Progress Energy to charge Floridians a fee for construction costs of new nuclear plants now, even before the plant is built and delivering power — even worse, it allowed Progress Energy to pocket millions for itself regardless of the construction status of the plant.