Matt Towery

That means the participation of church-led voters becomes all the more important in down-ballot contests.

And therein lies the continuing battle within the GOP. In Reed's case, brutally tough but effective ads by his opponent, state Sen. Casey Cagle, have sent Reed tumbling in the polls. By midweek, prior to the election, he trailed Cagle in the latest InsiderAdvantage poll. Reed's best chance would be to mobilize the massive church-led efforts, which, by legend, he revved up for President Bush in Florida during the 2004 contest.

For my part, I've even discounted my own firm's polling because it is virtually impossible to gauge exactly how many thousands of "under the radar" votes Reed might produce on Election Day.

Still, having been sued just days before the vote by one of the aggrieved Indian tribes linked to the Abramoff scandal, Reed finds himself under attack from virtually every direction. Just last year, he told me that he had never expected the treatment by the press to be as tough and even nasty as he has been encountering.

It's ironic that an individual as well-spoken and politically successful as Reed could become the first political victim of the Abramoff affair. And that a highly respected major Republican leader such as King in Florida is left a potential target due to low voter turnout and as a direct result of media indifference to the far more convoluted and potentially alarming issues surrounding Terry.

If nothing else, this year's GOP primaries prove that the Republican Party is indeed in search of its next direction. And even among those candidates supported by the so-called Religious Right, there is confusion, either from too much or too little media scrutiny.

For Reed, it will take another of those political miracles for which he is so well-known to make it to the next round in his contest. For candidates like Terry, it might just take apathy and minimal political coverage to upset the apple cart.

Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a pollster, attorney, businessman and former elected official. He served as campaign strategist for Congressional, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns. His latest book is Newsvesting: Use News and Opinion to Grow Your Personal Wealth. Follow him on Twitter @MattTowery