Pinellas votes today to replace Rep. C.W. Young

St. Petersburg, Florida -- After months of campaigning and $10 million-plus in political ads, Pinellas County voters will have their say Tuesday.

Thousands of voters are heading to the polls in several parts of the Tampa Bay area Tuesday, but the biggest race by far is Pinellas' special election for Congress.

RESULTS: District 13 Special Election
STORY: Candidates expect close Congressional race

Voters in nearly all of Pinellas County will choose who steps into the seat of Congressman C.W. "Bill" Young, who passed away in October.

The candidates:

Republican David Jolly - an attorney, lobbyist, and former top aide to Congressman Young

Democrat Alex Sink - the state's former Chief Financial Officer and a candidate for governor four years ago

Libertarian Lucas Overby - a professional dive supervisor and a political activist for more than a decade

In political party affiliation, Pinellas County isremarkably balanced.

Just over one-third of voters are registered as Democrats, just over one-third are Republicans, and just underone-third are something else, mostly independents.

Many people think of the color blue for Democrats and red for Republicans. That makes this place not red or blue, but purple -- one of the most purple places in America.

With Young, Republicans held this seat in Congress for more than 40 years.

Republican Jolly says he's still in the winning party, but he knows purple Pinellas makes every future fight tough.

"I think the more people that vote in this race, the larger our margin grows," Jolly told 10 News as he came to vote Tuesday in Indian Shores.

"Because I think on the issues, we're right for this county and we reflect the spirit of this county."

President Obama, a Democrat, won Pinellas County twice. But Democrat Alex Sink says for her, Pinellas' purple politics are a bigger advantage than those past presidential wins.

"As a moderate and a fiscal conservative, I feel very strongly that my values have aligned very, very well," Sink told 10 News as she visited with campaign workers Tuesday in St. Petersburg.

Libertarian Lucas Overby says he loves purple Pinellas -- otherwise, he may have never joined the race.

"It's the county that produced me," Overbytold 10 News as he walked to his polling place in Clearwater with his wife and four-year-old daughter.

"And I'm very open-minded and very different from a lot of different candidates because of the upbringing that I've had here."

A mountain of outside money has flowed into this fight with political ad spending adding up to more than $10 million by the time the campaign is over.

And the near-perfectpolitical balance has drawn crews from our national partners like CNN and CBS News here to purple Pinellas on Election Day.

They see this race as a test run for November, when every seat in the U.S. House and a third of the seats in the Senate will be up for grabs.

They're analyzing which campaign moves are working and which are falling flat in a purple place that fits so perfectly right in the middle.

Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You do not need your voter registration card to vote, just your government-issued ID with a photo and signature on it.


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