Gov. Rick Scott has not yet confirmed a date for the special election to replace the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young in the 13th Congressional District, but according to Steve Bousquet in the Tampa Bay Times, a decision will be coming soon.
Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark said she had a conversation with assistant director of the Florida Division of Elections Gary Holland, and the state is considering holding a primary on Jan. 14, 2014 with the general election on March 11.
March 11 is the preferred date since it is also the date of municipal elections in 16 of 24 Pinellas County cities.
“It’s already on the calendar as an election day,” Clark told the Times. “I thanked him (Holland) for contacting me and offering a scenario that works for us.”
At this time, all dates are only suggestions until Scott makes the final decision. Another proposal was a single-day qualifying period held noon Nov. 18 to noon Nov. 19, which would also require the governor’s approval.
Campaigning is expected be more aggressive than usual; there is both an abbreviated election season and the fact that Pinellas County is now a swing district for the first time since Young took office in 1970. The shortened calendar will also drive candidates to campaign — and raise money — at a frantic pace.
In addition, the early 2014 timing of elections means that candidates — whoever they will be — will struggle to get voter’s attention amid the upcoming holiday season.
According to the Times, the 13th Congressional District, which covers a large part of Pinellas County, has 455,420 registered voters— 170,020 Republicans and 158,317 Democrats. There are also 127,083 voters registered either in another party or with no party affiliation.
Mail ballots will continue a trend of dominating elections. Clark’s office processed 191,000 pending mail-in ballot requests, with 79,211 of them Republicans and 69,288 Democrats.