News & Election Videos

August 26, 2008

Warning signs ahead for Keller?

Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.) narrowly eked out a primary victory against attorney Todd Long in a closer-than-expected race that could foreshadow some trouble for the incumbent in November.

Keller defeated Long, 53 to 47 percent, with 97 percent of precincts reporting. The AP has called the race for Keller.

The Republican primary had been highly negative, particularly after Keller sent out a direct mail piece slamming Long for a past drunk-driving arrest and a recent incident of public intoxication. Long also faced significant financial hurdles, being outraised and outspent by the incumbent.

Long, meanwhile, attacked Keller for splitting with the Republicans on the Iraq war, over large budget deficits and for breaking a term limits pledge the congressman made in 2000.

Keller’s narrow margin of victory — even with the damning attacks — must be concerning for Republicans, and may propel this race on the national radar screen.

The fast-growing district, centered in Orlando, has traditionally supported Republican candidates but has grown more independent as the population has boomed over the past decade.

Keller will be facing businessman Alan Grayson, who scored a surprising victory in the Democratic primary. Grayson handily defeated the Democrats’ 2006 nominee, Charlie Stuart, and attorney Mike Smith with 48 percent of the vote.

Grayson primarily self-financed his campaign, and if he continues to do so, he may be able to close the fundraising gap with Keller.