While most Floridians have been distracted by the Dumpster fire we're calling "the 2016 presidential election," there are other races going on closer to home that not only present the same trash-fire drama, but also directly affect our city, county and state. From the U.S. Senate to county commission, here are the details on the four messiest campaign brawls you need to know before you get into the voting booth on Tuesday, Aug. 30.
U.S. SenateTerritory: The entire state of Florida Current seat held by: Marco Rubio
This is arguably the most important political seat in Florida up for grabs in November and the race is already a mess. While incumbent U.S. Sen. and presidential wannabe Marco Rubio was out losing his own state to the eventual Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, the race was pushed into the national eye by Libertarian candidate Augustus Sol Invictus, who admitted to sacrificing a goat and drinking its blood as part of a pagan ritual.
On the Democratic side, the progressive and establishment wings of the party have battled bitterly through U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy, while Democratic underdog Pam Keith struggles to gain attention. Grayson, an Orlando Democrat, has dealt with questions about a congressional ethics investigation into his hedge fund, his marriage to a candidate who's running for his current seat, and domestic abuse allegations from his ex-wife, Lolita Grayson, which he's vehemently denied. Murphy, a former Republican turned Democrat, was endorsed by President Obama but has been swamped by reports that he exaggerated academic and work achievements on an already thin résumé.
The Republican side of this race was pretty crowded when Rubio decided that he did want to run for re-election after all, despite claiming earlier that he wanted to be "a private citizen." In a strange political choice, Rubio cited the Pulse mass shooting that killed 49 people as one of his reasons for running again, which some have criticized as hypocritical given that he's pretty anti-LGBT.
If you don't think this race can get any wilder, there's still one more Republican fighting for this seat: Carlos Beruff. The Sarasota developer has been called the "Little Trump of Florida" after he proposed a ban on immigration from all Middle Eastern countries except for Israel and called Obama an "animal." Good luck choosing your favorite here.