Despite onslaught of negative attacks against her, @KathleenMPeters has commanding lead over Josh Shulman in HD 69

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In the face of a very negative campaign being waged against her, Republican Kathleen Peters has a commanding lead over Democrat Josh Shulman in the race for an open seat in House District 69.

According to a new survey conducted by St. Pete Polls, Peters is at 48.2% in the polls, while Shulman is at 37.8%.  Approximately 18% of voters remain undecided. The poll of likely voters was conducted Oct. 1 through Oct. 3.

Over the last two weeks, Shulman and his allies at the Florida Democratic Party have launched a blistering set of direct mail and TV spots against Peters.

The newly drawn District 69 seat consolidates portions of three former House districts – 51, 53, and 54.

Area voters used to be represented by one of three House members. Republicans Larry Ahern (HD 51) and Jim Frishe, (HD 54) and Democrat Rick Kriseman (HD 53) The district runs north from Fort Desoto along the beaches to Redington Shores. It moves inland to encompass Gulfport, portions of North Kenwood and Kenneth to the north.

The new district itself leans Democratic. In 2008 President Barack Obama would have defeated GOP candidate John McCain by a 10 point margin in the area now encompassed by the district. Two years later, Democrat Alex Sink would have beaten Gov. Rick Scott here by a 9.3 percentage point margin.

Former legislators from the area say the region’s politics run moderate to progressive, but there are pockets of conservatives, too.

“It’s really a mix,” said former state Sen. Charlie Justice, a Democrat who is now running for the Pinellas County Commission.

“It’s a region that tends to vote for the candidate and is not so wound up along party lines,” added former Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Seminole.

Though registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a margin of 38.8 percent to 35.5 percent, more than one in four voters in the district is not affiliated with either party.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.