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Wexler gives local Dems a 'free pass'

U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler's early retirement presents Broward and Palm Beach politicians with a tempting offer: a quick, risk-free election for an open congressional seat with great job security.

Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to schedule a special election to replace Wexler in the next few months, allowing candidates to avoid a protracted and expensive campaign for one of Congress' safest Democratic districts, which straddles the Broward-Palm Beach County line. What's more, state lawmakers and county officials don't have to resign to run for federal office -- so if they lose, they can remain in their current posts.

"It's a free pass. Highly unusual,'' said Mark Alan Siegel, chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party. It makes the dynamic different than any other Florida race you have seen.''

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