Live-blogging the GOP primary in Florida’s 13th congressional district

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It’s Election Day in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, where the three GOP candidates vying to face Democrat Alex Sink will face off. There’s David Jolly, an attorney and former staffer to the late Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young, state Rep. Kathleen Peters and retired Marine Corps Brigadier General Mark Bircher.

The 13th Congressional District encompasses almost all of densely populated Pinellas County.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

I’ll be live blogging Election Day on this page, so please check back often for analysis, prediction, and updates.

6:36 p.m. – According to the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections, estimated unofficial voter turnout at selected sample precincts at 10 a.m. today averaged 5.87% in addition to mail ballot and early voting unofficial turnout prior to Election Day of 19.8%

5:50 p.m. – My final prediction: David Jolly 40%, Mark Bircher 32%, Kathleen Petes 28%.

5:32 p.m. – The Washington Post offers three things to watch in CD 13, including, “What’s next in the Young family drama? … Young’s widow, Beverly Young, is backing Jolly. But their son, Bill Young II, is supporting Peters. The rift has become very public and very contentious, with Beverly Young leveling tough words at her son. The question is what happens now. If Jolly wins, does Young II fall in line behind him? And if Peters springs an upset, will Beverly Young support her? Is this the end of the family tussling, or only one chapter? This much seems clear: Republicans need a united front and can’t afford distractions as the race moves into its next stage.”

5:04 p.m. – Contributor Daphne Street spent the day trailing David Jolly. Here are her notes.

4:26 p.m. – According to the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections, estimated unofficial voter turnout at selected sample precincts at 10 a.m. today averaged 4.43% in addition to mail ballot and early voting unofficial turnout prior to Election Day of 19.8%

3:07 p.m. – According to the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections, estimated unofficial voter turnout at selected sample precincts at 10 a.m. today averaged 3.36% in addition to mail ballot and early voting unofficial turnout prior to Election Day of 19.8%

11:08 a.m. – According to the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections, estimated unofficial voter turnout at selected sample precincts at 10 a.m. today averaged 1.07% in addition to mail ballot and early voting unofficial turnout prior to Election Day of 19.8%

10:41 a.m. – A direct mailer arriving the day before the GOP primary in Florida’s 13th Congressional District offers a preview of the nasty general election campaign to come.

The glossy brochure is paid for by the Republican Party of Florida and warns “You’ll be hearing a lot about Alex Sink,” the Democratic nominee in CD 13. The mailer then invites the reader to “take a closer look” at Sink’s record.

According to the GOP, Sink “supports Obamacare,” “has a long record of supporting higher taxes that would hurt” families, and “even supported a one percent increase in property insurance premiums.”

By now, you probably get the point. Still, if this mailer is any indication of what’s in store for Sink — and the voters of CD 13 — it’s going to be a long two months.

8:50 a.m. – A couple of early predictions from political prognosticators: Bay News 9 analyst Chris Ingram says he expects no surprises and for Jolly win. Tea Party activist Doug Guetzloe tweeted that Mark Bircher will take 39% of the vote, Jolly 31%, and Peters 30%.

8:01 a.m. – Tweet, Tweet: @CWBill2: Don’t let the rain keep you from exercising your right to vote, its never kept our troops from defending that right!

7:55 a.m. – Times reporter Claire Wiseman highlights this photo of Scott Keeler ‘leaping into bush, in the rain, to get shot of this guy heading into a polling place.’

7:39 a.m. – Might weather be a factor today? Bay News 9 Meteorologist Juli Marquez said visibility is as low as a quarter mile in St. Petersburg, meanwhile incoming rain bands are all over the weather radar.

weather

7:15 a.m.The Tampa Bay Times editorial board is sticking by its recommendation of Peters. In an editorial running in today’s paper, the ed board writes, “The abbreviated, uninspiring campaign to select the Republican nominee in the race to succeed the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young mercifully ends today when the polls close at 7 p.m. … This has been a low-profile primary election with unfamiliar GOP candidates campaigning to succeed the only congressman many Pinellas residents have ever known. For today’s election, Kathleen Peters remains the best choice for Republicans.”

7:01 a.m. – There’s not much new to glean from them, but here are the table-setting stories from the AP and the Tampa Tribune on the CD 13 GOP primary. 

7:00 a.m. – Polls are now open.

6:52 a.m. – With Election Day polls about to open, it’s important to note the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office reports that 32,737 of the 78,555 ballot requests have been returned, 40 percent of all vote-by-mail requests to date.

6:43 a.m. – POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt on the GOP field: “Republicans admit they are increasingly alarmed about the prospect of losing the St. Petersburg-area district. Among Republicans there is unhappiness with the candidates in Tuesday’s GOP primary and disappointment that many of the party’s best and brightest who long had been thought of as successors to Young didn’t run.”

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.