Political Hunger Games in Pinellas

Republicans fight Republicans in the race to hold on to Bill Young’s Congressional seat.

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Not to be discounted is Retired Marine Brigadier General Mark Bircher, making his first run for elective office. He’s only 10 points behind the two better-known candidates according to a recent poll — and he may provide an alternative for the Pinellas Patriots crowd. At last week’s Tiger Bay meeting, Bircher said he thought the Republican Party had lost its way in recent years, claiming the choice now for most voters is “big government vs. bigger government.”

Waiting in the wings while the Republicans settle their internecine battle is Sink. Although the GOP will hit her hard on a number of fronts, Democratic political consultant Mitch Kates says the Republicans had better be ready.

“This congressional race is going to be yet another example of the organizing that we’ve learned as a party since 2008,” he says. Kates ran Charlie Justice’s unsuccessful congressional campaign against Young in 2010 but says that Democrats throughout the state are now running much more effectively in Florida. “That whole field mentality is going to show up in this race, and it’s going to be awesome to watch.”

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