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Weinstein and Bean each predict nail-biter evening

In one of the most hotly contested and bitterly fought state Senate fights in Florida -- between state Rep. Mike Weinstein and former Rep. Aaron Bean -- both candidates said Tuesday they are not sure how it's going to end.

"I could be getting my rear-end kicked and not even know it,'' conceded Bean, the former Fernandina Beach legislator who is running for the Duval-based state Senate District 4. He was spending the day in Jacksonville, greeting sign wavers working on his behalf. His sign people included some big names: CFO Jeff Atwater and state Sens. John Thrasher and Joe Negron.

Weinstein also believes "it's anybody's guess" who will win the newly drawn district where 70 percent of the Republicans come from his home territory in Duval and 30 percent come from Nassau, the home county of Bean.

"The best thing about today is I'm able to go to the mail and not have it filled with dirt from Tallahassee,'' said Weinstein, referring to the barrage of nasty mail sent out by political committees backed by the Florida Conservative Majority, a political committee controlled by incoming Senate President Don Gaetz and his expected successor, Sen. Andy Gardiner and Sen. Joe Negron.

Estimates indicate they spent about $2.5 million to influence the 2016 Senate presidency fight. Weinstein, an early supporter of Gov. Rick Scott who has drawn the endorsement of Attorney General Pam Bondi, has pledged his support for Sen. Jack Latvala while Bean is supporting Joe Negron.

Another group, Floridians for Ethics in Truth in Politics has responded with attacks against Bean. 

Early voting in Nassau County is expected to help Bean -- with 14 percent of Republicans having voted by Sunday. But the real numbers that matter are in Duval, which is expecting only a 17 percent voter turnout.

"That throws anybody's guess of what would happen out the window,'' Weinstein said.

Both campaigns say they have pushed the early voting effort aggressively.

Bean, who is spending his day in Duval while his wife works Nassau, said he's done all he knows to do. "You study for the test and see what happens," he said.