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AIPAC Insider lists Diaz-Balart as "highly vulnerable"

AIPAC's Insider, a political tipsheet for members of the pro-Israel American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, lists Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart as among the "Highly Vulnerable" in its look at House races.

The write-up notes that Diaz-Balart has not had a competitive race since winning his first term in 1992, but that this cycle "he will face a formidable challenge from former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez." The newsletter notes that Democrats believe Martinez "can chip away at Diaz-Balart's base and make this a competitive race."

It says that Diaz-Balart has "begun aggressively raising the resources necessary to defend his seat" and that national Republicans "are confident (he'll) withstand Martinez's challenge while Democrats believe they have finally found a candidate with the financial resources and community network needed to oust the eight-term incumbent.

"With both parties gearing up to compete in this district, voters in South Florida can expect a November general election much like their weather...hot!"

AIPAC spokesman Josh Block said the Insider -- which is sent to AIPAC members and doesn't appear to be available online -- is part of its outreach effort to keep its members informed. The group has no political action committee, doesn't make political contributions or endorse candidates, he said, "but of course we encourage our members to be involved politically."

The races are updated periodically, Block said. Other Floridians considered "highly vulnerable" -- Democrat Rep. Tim Mahoney, who took former Rep. Mark Foley's Republican-leaning Palm Beach County seat. GOP'er Rep. Vern Buchanan, who faces a rematch against the Democratic challenger he beat by fewer than 400 votes, was listed as "vulnerable."

Republican Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Ric Keller of Orlando and Tom Feeney of Oviedo, were listed as "potentially vulnerable."

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