Clearwater, Florida -- In a few days, Democrat Alex Sink will be moving into Pinellas County and the Congressional district she soon hopes to represent. The Democrat says she's decided to rent a condo at Feather Sound, just a few blocks from her soon-to-be-open campaign office on Ulmerton Road.
"I'm anxious to move in," Sink said on Thursday.
"Everybody is recruiting me to come live in their neighborhood... there are so many choices of great places to live (in Pinellas County)."
Sink told 10 News she opted to rent, in part because she needs to focus on the Congressional District 13 race to replace Bill Young and will look to buy later.
"Right now I don't need to be roaming around Pinellas County with a realtor trying to figure out what house I want to buy. What I need to be doing is meeting voters and talking about the issues that are important."
But one of those important issues, according to Republican state Senator Jack Latvala, is electing someone from Pinellas County. Latvala -- who has been critical of fellow Republican and Congressional candidate David Jolly for working and living in DC -- says renting a condo doesn't make Sink a local.
"I think it's pretty insulting to the 457,000 people that live in Congressional District 13 to think that two of the major candidates are moving into the district to be our Congressman," said Latvala, who is supporting Republican state Representative Kathleen Peters in the District 13 race.
Latvala then pointed out Sink's home in Thonotosassa is 31 miles from Feather Sound, according to his GPS. He says Sink's decision to rent instead of buy calls into question her commitment to Pinellas County.
"Just blatantly moving from one area to another to try and take advantage of a political opportunity. I think the people that I represent in Pinellas County are tired of that kind of political opportunism."
He adds, "I think one of the qualifications of being a representative of a district is to have some background of involvement in the community, of that district; working for our charities, coaching our teams. How do you learn about a district and the people you represent unless you've lived there?"
By law a congressional candidate does not have to live in the district they represent in order to be elected, and ultimately it will be up to the voters if they think Sink's residency is an issue.
But when asked if she planned to stay in Pinellas County even if she lost the election, Sink replied, "You know, I'm looking at you with wonder in my face, because I'm not considering losing the election. There's only one option, I'm winning this election."
The Republican primary will be January 14 with the General Election on March 11.