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This Week in Congress - August 27, 2010

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I’m Elizabeth Wynne Johnson of Capitol News Connection. This Week in Congress...

...with lawmakers still scattered to their respective states and districts, the Capitol itself was pretty quiet.

But the consequences of several important primaries on Tuesday will reverberate in Washington soon enough.

GONZALES "This has already been one of the most tumultuous and exciting Senate races anywhere in the country."

That’s analyst Nathan Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report, talking about Florida.

To recap – the two leading men of that Democratic primary were Congressman Kendrick Meek and out-of-nowhere billionaire businessman Jeff Greene.

GONZALES "Being an outsider is a particularly potent message this year, and I think Greene was able to tap into that for a little while."

That alone would not fully explain why the Florida primary was garnering an outsized share of national attention...

Another key ingredient in the political stew: Former Florida governor and moderate Republican Charlie Crist had thrown a wrench into the gears of both parties’ political machines...by deciding to run as an Independent.

GONZALEZ "If Charlie Crist continues to gain and get a chunk of that Dem vote, we will have a chance to win as an unaffiliated candidate."

So without further ado, the winner of the Florida Democratic primary was, of course...Kendrick Meek.

Republicans, meanwhile, overwhelmingly choose conservative Marco Rubio.

Political watchers could officially reset their scoreboards to "zero" and start measuring the enthusiasm of Democratic voters for Meek.

Because in the upcoming general election, it’s the Democratic Party that appears to have the most to lose with Independent Crist in the mix.

This is about more than dissecting "who’s up / who’s down" – it just may be a political bellwether in horse-race disguise.

This week, Republicans took time over the phone to talk about How They Spent Their Summer Vacations...

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