Murphy beats Grayson to face Rubio for Senate

Rep. Patrick Murphy D-Fla. will face incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio for the Florida Senate seat

Marco Rubio, who just a few months ago vowed to quit politics, managed to hold on to his seat - though it may have been a bittersweet victory, given reports previous year that Rubio "hates" working as a senator.

Also in Florida, despite being embroiled in scandal when she was ousted as the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Canova looks headed for defeat, but not without bruising Wasserman Schultz all summer.

Tuesday's primary will also set the stage for several U.S. House races in a year that Democrats are hoping to gain seats in the heavily Republican delegation. She ran uncontested in the primary, and Democrats are excited about her candidacy. McCain, who is trying to extend a 30-year Senate career, faces a challenge from physician and former state Senator Kelli Ward, who is aligned with the conservative Tea Party movement.

One of the most watched races in the state is the Democratic primary between Annette Taddeo - a former candidate for lieutenant governor on the ticket with onetime Gov. Charlie Crist (who is running for a House seat, as well) - and former Rep. Joe Garcia, her former friend and mentor, who came under fire in connection with a scheme involving fraudulent absentee ballots.

Murphy, right, visited the Tampa Bay area several times over the past few weeks in an effort to woo the area's voters.

Sen. Marco Rubio R-Fla. again won his party's nomination in the key Florida Senate race
View Slideshow Sen. Marco Rubio R-Fla. again won his party's nomination in the key Florida Senate race. Lynne Sladky AP

Many of those races have been marked by the familiar national dynamic pitting the party establishment vs. insurgents. But they have tiptoed around him, mainly out of concern that his provocative comments on illegal immigration, Muslims and US support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation could alienate moderate and independent voters in their states.

Rubio is playing a similar game. But in the 19th district seat vacated by Clawson, Francis Rooney, former US ambassador to the Vatican and a major GOP fundraiser, won the party's nomination over Chauncey Goss, son of former congressman and Central Intelligence Agency director Porter Goss; and Dan Bongino, an ex-Secret Service agent who twice failed in Maryland congressional bids. He will square off against Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in November. That's because his new wife, Dena Grayson, whom he married in May, was vying to replace her husband in Congress. But if Hillary Clinton wins the White House, Democrats would need to pick up four seats for control of the Senate.

Rubio, who decided only in June to seek re-election, overwhelmed three Republican challengers, the most prominent being Manatee County developer Carlos Beruff who spent $8 million of his own money in the campaign.

On the Democratic side of the aisle, Murphy's primary race wasn't much of a contest either.

Clinton maintains a small but consistent lead over the real estate mogul in Florida, which analysts say should keep Murphy within striking distance of the well-known and generally popular Rubio as Election Day approaches on November 8. Earlier this month, Murphy stopped running ads, signaling that he's conserving his war chest for Rubio. Grayson denied the allegations, but at least two progressive groups withdrew their support and Murphy cited the reports as a reason not to debate Grayson.

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