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Four of the messiest campaign brawls of the 2016 Florida primary



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U.S. House District 10

Territory: Parts of Orlando, Ocoee, Apopka, Winter Garden and Lake Buena Vista
Current seat held by: Dan Webster

Remember, District 10 was redrawn last year, along with the rest of Florida's congressional districts, after the state Supreme Court found the Florida Legislature had gerrymandered the maps to favor Republicans and incumbents. The current incumbent, Republican Daniel Webster, decided to run in neighboring District 11 after the redistricting process made District 10 lean Democratic. The four Democrats currently vying for the primary nomination are part of the national proxy fight between the progressive and establishment wings of the party.

Former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings, who ran in the same district in 2012, has been endorsed by former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and was invited to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. If the DNC was trying to hide its favoritism, it wasn't doing a very good job: Demings getting prime TV time prompted her rivals to accuse the party of handpicking a winner rather than allowing citizens to decide. Recently, Demings has sparred with challenger Bob Poe, the former chair of the Florida Democratic Party who, during the course of the race, revealed he is HIV-positive. Poe has accused Demings of overseeing police brutality during her time as head of OPD, while Demings has counterattacked and accused Poe of trying to buy the election.

State Sen. Geraldine Thompson, founder of the Wells Built Museum of African American History and Culture, has also criticized Demings, but has run a pretty quiet campaign despite having the most legislative experience and being recently elected chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus. The final Democratic contender, Fatima Fahmy, has not remained so silent. The lawyer has crashed two of Demings' events and allied herself with U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson. Whoever wins the primary will have to face the only Republican in the race, Thuy Lowe, in November.

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