Brendan Farrington, AP Political Writer
TALLAHASSEE – Florida voters will go to the polls Tuesday and select the nominees for U.S. Senate, decide whether to amend the state constitution to give a property tax break to promote solar energy and have a say in who should represent them in the U.S. House. Here’s a look at the races and issues facing Florida on Election Day.
REPUBLICAN SENATE PRIMARY
Marco Rubio’s last-minute decision to run for re-election almost, but not quite, cleared the field in what was a crowded Republican primary to replace him. Rubio said while running for president that he wouldn’t seek a second Senate term. He repeated that claim when he dropped out of the race after badly losing the Florida presidential primary to Donald Trump. Then he changed his mind, causing Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez Cantera, U.S. Reps. Ron DeSantis and David Jolly and businessman Todd Wilcox to drop out of the race. But homebuilder Carlos Beruff stayed in and has spent about $8 million dollars of his own money on his first run for office. He has repeatedly criticized Rubio for missing votes while running for president and failing to enthusiastically back Trump for president, but was still badly trailing Rubio in the polls as the primary approached. Rubio has campaigned as if he’s already won the nomination, refusing to debate Beruff and focusing more on his Democratic opponents.
DEMOCRATIC SENATE PRIMARY
U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson are the two leading candidates to take on Rubio and have led strikingly different campaigns. Murphy wrapped up major endorsements early in the campaign and is the establishment favorite to try to win back Sen. Marco Rubio’s seat as Democrats try to regain a Senate majority. Murphy has excelled at fundraising and is backed by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Grayson has a reputation for being a fiery, outspoken liberal who isn’t afraid to break beyond political norms. Most of fundraising has been through small donations. Both candidates have had issues during the race. Grayson has been dogged by ethics allegations over an offshore hedge fund he managed and a claim by the mother of his children that he abused her over two decades. He has said he’s done nothing wrong. Murphy has been criticized for embellishing his resume and for relying on $1.5 million in contributions his father gave to super PACs supporting his campaign.