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Mr. McCollum, meanwhile, has received a campaign boost from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a popular Republican who has stumped for the attorney general, and an endorsement from the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The winner of that primary likely will face Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat, in November’s general election. In a memo this week, Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, said the Republicans’ bitter primary fight has damaged both candidates and left an opening for Democrats to win a governorship they haven’t held since 1998.

Also on the Democratic side, Mr. Meek led in the polls in his battle for the Senate nomination over Mr. Greene, despite Mr. Greene’s repeated accusations that the congressman is beholden to special interests.

Whoever wins that primary will compete in a three-way battle with Marco Rubio, the Republicans’ presumptive nominee, and Gov. Charlie Crist, who fled the GOP earlier this year and is running as an independent.

After Tuesday, the next big date on the political calendar is Sept. 14, when voters in seven states and the District of Columbia will round out the last of the major primaries.

The power of tea party anger has been a major theme, and Republican candidates have tried to capture the issues that are driving those voters.

Kevin Howley, associate professor of media studies at DePauw University who has studied the tea party movement, said the tea party appears to be a rebranding effort for the GOP, whose image suffered during the administration of President George W. Bush.

“The tea party provided ‘cover’ for Republicans at a time when the GOP brand was damaged by the Bush administration’s assault on privacy, grinding [military] occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ensuing economic meltdown,” he said.

Democrats see an opening, too, particularly to try to raise money from their base off of fears of a tea party takeover of the GOP.

On Monday, Senate Democrats’ campaign arm sent out a fundraising plea from James Carville warning of a “Triumvirate of Tea” — three Republican Senate candidates who the Democratic strategist said would “drag us back to the policies of a certain bumbling Texan.”

Mr. Howley said Democrats have an opportunity to use the tea party as a wedge among various factions of the GOP, and the movement could end up helping rally the Democrats’ dispirited ranks.

“The fearmongering coming from ‘star’ Republicans like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin — a tea party favorite — may motivate Democrats and independents who might otherwise sit this one out to cast a vote come November,” he said.

Polls suggest the tea party is a polarizing force, though candidates associated with the movement appear to have an advantage.

PJTV, a conservative-leaning Web-based news site, has commissioned weekly polls on the tea party movement. Since the surveys began Aug. 1 support has been steady.

The Aug. 15 survey of 1,000 likely voters found that 27 percent “strongly support” the tea party and 29 percent “somewhat support” the movement.

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