TALLAHASSEE, FL (NSF) -
Democrats appeared to have slightly weakened the GOP's hold on Florida's congressional delegation Tuesday, but the size of their gain depended on the outcome of a race matching a nationally known Republican firebrand and a political newcomer.
With two new seats in play because of population gains between 2000 and 2010, Republicans appeared to be on track to carry no more than 18 of the 27 districts in Florida's delegation to the U.S. House. Democrats were likely to win at least nine and perhaps 10, up from the six seats they hold in the current Congress.
One Republican incumbent, embattled Rep. David Rivera, was already on track to being ousted. A second, Rep. Allen West, was in a fight for his political life that seemed headed for a recount.
The Democratic pick-ups were part of a mini-Democratic wave that seemed to be sweeping over Florida. Republicans lost seats in both chambers of the Florida Legislature, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson won re-election and President Barack Obama was in a neck-and-neck battle with GOP challenger Mitt Romney for the state's 29 electoral votes.