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Republican candidates head to special primary in Florida

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January 13, 2014


By Jennifer Springer

Tampa Bay, Florida: Three Republican candidates-- Mark Bircher, David Jolly and Kathleen Peters-- will face off for the nomination in the Republican special primary election tomorrow.[1] The special election will be held to fill the vacancy left by the death of Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R). Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.[2] Florida is split between Eastern and Central time zones.

On October 9, 2013, Young announced that he would retire at the end of his term in 2014.[3] He cited several factors as to why he chose not to run for re-election, including his health and his desire to spend more time with his family.[3] On October 17, 2013, Young's family released a statement announcing that he was "gravely ill."[4] "U.S. Rep. C. W. Bill Young's condition turned for the worse over night and he is gravely ill," the family said. "His doctors say his prognosis is guarded."[4] Young died on October 18, 2013, following complications resulting from a chronic injury.[5] At the time of his death, Young was the longest serving House Republican.[6][7]

Florida has a closed primary system, in which the selection of a party's candidates in a primary election is limited to registered members of that party.

Under Florida law, Governor Rick Scott (R) had no authority to appoint a replacement, but called a special election to fill Young's seat.[8][9]

C.W. Bill Young's widow, Beverly Young, endorsed David Jolly at his campaign kickoff event on November 7, 2013, and announced that her late husband asked Jolly to run for his seat.[10]

Mark Bircher received an endorsement from former Rep. Allen West. Kathleen Peters was endorsed by one of Young’s sons, Bill Young II.[11].[11][12]

The winner of the Republican special primary election will face Alex Sink (D), Lucas Overby (L) and write-in candidate Michael Levinson in the special general election on March 11, 2014.[1]

The special election is expected to cost just over $1 million-- $458,668 for the Republican primary and $604,021 for the general election.[1] The cost would have been higher had a Democratic primary been necessary.[1]

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