At least four names will be on the ballot for a special primary election on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, to decide candidates for the March 11 special election for the District 13 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The county has been abuzz with speculation since the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young died Oct. 18, 2013. Young represented House District 13 for 42 years. The special election will pick a new representative for Pinellas County to serve until the next election cycle.
As of Friday, Nov. 8, three candidates had filed paperwork with the Florida Division of Elections, including Republicans David W. Jolly of Indian Rocks Beach and John-Michael Fleig of St. Pete Beach. The third candidate is Lucas T. Overby of Clearwater representing the Libertarian Party of Florida.
Democrat Alex Sink, who is reportedly moving to Pinellas County, was the first candidate to announce that she is running since the governor set the election dates. Sink, Florida’s former Chief Financial Officer, made her announcement Oct. 30. She has not yet filed paperwork with the state, according to the Division of Elections website.
Will not run
Democrat Jessica Ehrlich announced Nov. 6 that she was pulling out of the race.
On the Republican side, former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker has said he will not run, as has Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, Pinellas County Commission Chair Ken Welch, Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel, former state Rep. Larry Crow and Young’s son, Billy. Former Pinellas County Commission Neil Brickfield announced Friday afternoon that he would not run.
“It’s an honor to be considered as a candidate to potentially replace Congressman Bill Young,” Brickfield said on his Facebook page.
However, Brickfield, who recently became executive director for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Police Athletic League, said the timing just wasn’t right.
There is still time for additional candidates to decide to run in the primary. Candidate qualifying period runs from 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 18, through noon, Tuesday, Nov. 19.
The deadline to register to vote in the primary election is Dec. 16. Florida has closed primaries, so only voters registered with a political party may vote in that party’s primary election. Any changes to party affiliations must be made 29 days prior to a primary election, which for the Jan. 14, 2014 election is Dec. 16.