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Mark Bircher sticks to conservative script during CD 13 campaign launch

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

To say Mark Bircher is conservative may be a bit of an understatement.

He’s about as far right as a serious American politician gets.

The retired Marine Corps Reserve brigadier general and commercial pilot made sure to highlight those conservative views of his during his campaign kick-off last night. He’s running for Pinellas County’s 13th Congressional District seat in 2016.

“My platform is [based] on our Republican principals,” said Bircher from a banquet room at Quaker Steak and Lube, in Clearwater — the Republican debate playing on a projector screen in the background. “[Those are] limited government, fiscal conservatism, adherence to the Constitution, and personal responsibility.”

Bircher, 62, is back for another congressional run, having finished third in the Republican race for Pinellas’ CD 13 race in 2014.

This time around, he’s the first GOP contender in the running for the seat. Democrats Charlie Crist and Eric Lynn are also making the push for their party’s nomination for the post.

“A consequence of too much government is overregulation,” continued Bircher. “I think that puts a crush on the entrepreneurial spirit of the people, it hurts business [which] suppresses our jobs and economic growth.”

The “government overregulation” that Bircher focused so much of his speech was — in Bircher’s opinion — about ideological policy flaws of the federal government.

“[The federal government] is doing things they’re not supposed to do: health care, education, privacy intrusions. And they’re not doing the things that the Constitution specifically enumerates: protecting our borders, naturalization, immigration, Visas, who can come here.”

He offered a simple solution for these perceived problems of his, saying, “I think we need to refocus on letting the states do the things the states can do, tighten up, and see if we can enumerate the things the federal government is specifically supposed to do.”

He added: “every dollar that we spend up in Washington [is] a dollar we could have spent here on deciding our own future and own quality of life.”

CD 13 background, according to senior reporter Mitch Perry:

“The newly configured CD 13 seat leans much more Democratic-friendly than when Bircher ran for the position two years ago. At that point, the Pinellas County district held a slight GOP edge in terms of voter registration. But the Florida Supreme Court ruled over the summer that it was one of eight congressional districts that were created in violation of the 2010 Fair District constitutional amendments. The Court declared that Kathy Castor‘s district across the Bay in Hillsborough County should no longer cut into Pinellas, meaning that the more Democratic-leaning southern part of Pinellas County would be redrawn in.

“That decision paved the way for the district’s current representative, David Jolly, to decide that he would not run for re-election in 2016, but instead attempt to win the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio next year.”

Devon Crumpacker is a Tampa Bay based writer and reporter for Extensive Enterprises Media. He primarily covers Pinellas County politics for, but also makes time to write the occasional bar review for He lives in St. Petersburg with his fiance, Sydney. To contact, e-mail, or visit his Twitter page @DevonCrumpacker.

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