Tags: florida | rebecca negron | james dobson

Florida Braces for Pivotal Primary

Image: Florida Braces for Pivotal Primary

Rep. Patrick E. Murphy (patrickmurphy.house.gov)

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Thursday, 25 Aug 2016 12:21 PM Current | Bio | Archive

All eyes are on Florida's 18th District as a hotly contested six-candidate Republican primary is drawing nationwide attention.

In just five days voters will choose nominees to succeed outgoing Democratic representative and U.S. Senate hopeful Patrick Murphy.

The race is important because the Palm Beach-area district is one of a handful that can easily swing from Democrat to Republican. At a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in July, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden noted that with an 88-year high of 247 seats in the House, Republicans had only a few seats in Democratic hands as prospects for pickup.

But the other reason for the growing attention on the 18th is that its Republican primary is boiling down to insiders vs. outsiders.

On the Republican side, the prominent two out of the six are Brian Mast, onetime U.S. Army staff sergeant who lost both legs in Afghanistan, and Martin County School Board member Rebecca Negron, wife of incoming State Senate President Joe Negron.

By far the top fundraiser in the pack, Negron calls for repealing excessive regulation, ending the federal education program Common Core, and repealing Obamacare. Backers range from Dr. James Dobson to Rep. Tom Rooney of the neighboring district.

But Mast, a Harvard graduate, is a classic outsider, brandishing endorsements from Citizens United to conservative radio commentator Mark Levin to Iowa Sen. (and fellow combat veteran) Joni Ernst. In addition, many of the local “tea party “groups in the district are busily canvassing on Mast’s behalf.

In June, as several Republican officeholders and candidates were publicly voicing angst about their soon-to-be nominee for president, Mast made news by “proudly” endorsing Donald Trump.

“With anybody, you take the good with the bad,” he told reporters. “There are things that I hate about him and there are things that I love about him. You know, if you have an infestation of rats and rodents in your home and you need to call the exterminator, you don’t necessarily care about the personality of the exterminator,” he said. “You just care that he gets rid of the infestation.”

When I asked Mast on what policy he specifically differed with Negron, he replied: “It’s really a matter of our overall view of things. [Negron is] opposed to many federal education schemes such as Common Core and I agree with that. But where she would supports continuing current federal education programs through the Department of Education, I say abolish the department, eliminate the middle man, and let the states administer the necessary programs themselves.”

Florida has no run-off provision, so the top vote-getter in the primary Tuesday will be the Republican nominee. Democrats are likely to nominate Randy Perkins, who runs a successful environmental cleanup company and a local foundation. But the electoral makeup of the district, which Mitt Romney carried with 52 percent of the vote in 2012, points to a Republican pickup.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

 

 

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In just five days voters will choose nominees to succeed outgoing Democratic representative and U.S. Senate hopeful Patrick Murphy.
florida, rebecca negron, james dobson
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2016-21-25
Thursday, 25 Aug 2016 12:21 PM
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