Primary Fights Get Personal in Arizona, Florida

Tuesday is primary election day in several states. Two states in particular, Arizona and Florida, are holding elections that are key to the Republican efforts to win back control of Congress. With the stakes so high, the attacks are getting personal, as CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes reports.

With the primaries just two days away, candidates in Florida are trying to leave the voters with a positive impression. But what Floridians are likely to remember most is just how nasty this campaign season has become.

The two top contenders in Florida's Democratic Senate primary are accusing each other of being crooks.

Jeff Greene's ads ask, "How corrupt is Congressman Kendrick Meek?"

Meek's ads say Greene is "profiting off of suffering.

Greene is a real estate billionaire. Reported exploits on his 145-foot yacht, the "Summerwind" have dominated campaign headlines.

Whoever wins will face off against Republican Marco Rubio and Gov. Charlie Crist, who fled the GOP after trailing Rubio in the polls.

Interactive Map: CBS News Election 2010 Race Ratings

"If Governor Crist, who is running as an independent, wins the big question here is and gets asked it a lot, will he caucus with the Democrats or the Republicans," said Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida. "So he could well be the key to who controls the U.S. Senate."

That's because Republicans need to sweep all 10 competitive Senate races to reclaim the chamber. They need 39 seats to win the House.

A year ago no one thought Republicans had a prayer of taking back the House of Representatives, now it's a real possibility, what's changed?

"I think overall voter sentiment has changed," said Nathan Gonzales, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report. "People haven't seen the economic turnaround kind of hit home and they're looking for change."

That's fueling an anti-incumbent sentiment that has emboldened upstart candidates to take on established senators from their own parties -- including Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and John McCain of Arizona.

McCcain was forced to make a hard tack to the right, which could help him fend off conservative J.D. Hayworth in his Tuesday primary.

Congressman Hayworth isn't exactly the ultimate outsider, being a former member of Congress so McCain probably benefits from that too.

Now that primary season is almost over, candidates on the right and the left must work to woo swing voters who say the most important issue to them is jobs.
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    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' congressional correspondent.

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