The last time elections were so hot in Florida, it was Bush vs. Gore (on the ballot and in court) and we all learned a lot about what a "hanging chad" was. In 2016, the sunshine state is looking again to be at the center of the political world, with an open Senate seat, several hotly contested House of Representatives races and an important role to play in the presidential election.
Close balloting in all these races will reward broadcasters Scripps (SSP) , Sinclair (SBGI) , Fox (FOXA) , CBS (CBS) , Comcast's (CMCSA) NBC and Univision, Tribune (TRCO) , Tegna (TGNA) , Entravision (EVC) and others. Warren Buffett even owns a piece of the action. Deep dive: TV broadcasters will dominate political ad spending in 2016 -- here's how
Marco Rubio is vacating his Senate seat, and competition will be fierce. Candidates include liberal firebrand Representative Alan Grayson and moderate Democrat Representative Patrick Murphy, who face off in a late-August primary. Republicans who fear losing ground in the Senate have reportedly asked Rubio to consider running.
Southeastern Florida has two hot House races, as well.
Murphy's House seat in Florida's 18th Congressional District is tight. The district includes Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie and part of Palm Beach County, adjacent to West Palm Beach, the 38th largest TV market in the U.S. according to Nielsen. Among the major networks, Scripps owns NBC affiliate WPTV and Sinclair owns CBS affiliate WPEC. Sinclair also has WTVX, affiliated with Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS joint venture CW Network, and WTCN, which carries Fox's MyNetwork.
Further south, Florida's 26th Congressional District, which includes part of Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys, also has a heated race for the House seat held by incumbent Carlos Curbelo, a Republican. Miami is the 16th-largest TV market in the country. Buffett bought into the market in 2014, when Berkshire Hathaway swapped $1.1 billion in stock of Graham Holdings, the former Washington Post Co., for ABC affiliate WPLG and other assets. Comcast has double exposure, with NBC and Telemundo stations. CBS owns the CBS and MyNetwork. Tribune owns CW network affiliate WSFL.
Executives at Univision, whom Republican candidate Donald Trump famously barred from his Trump National Doral golf course in Miami last year, will profit from the Republican nominee's bluster. The company owns two Miami stations that broadcast its Univision and UniMas networks. Deep dive: The Trump Effect
Florida's largest TV market is Tampa-St. Petersburg, which ranks 11th nationally. Scripps owns ABC affiliate WFTS. Media General has NBC station WFLA and MyNetwork affiliate WTTA. Tegna owns WTSP, which carries CBS, and Fox has a presence with WTVT. Entravision has Univision affiliate WVEA and UniMas affiliate WFTT.
Orlando is the No. 19 U.S. TV market. Etravision owns Univision affiliates W47DA, WVCI-LP and WVEN-TV, and operates Unimas affiliate WOTF for Univision. Fox has WOFL and MyNetwork affiliate WRBW
In the state capital and 108th largest national market, Tallahassee, Gray owns CBS affiliate WCTV and Sinclair has NBC affiliate WTWC and CW station WTLF.