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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (AP) - The candidates seeking to replace the late Congressman Bill Young faced off in a Florida special election.

Republican David Jolly, Democrat Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby participated in the hour-long debate at St. Petersburg College Monday.

Photos: Supporters of various candidates stand outside debate

Called "A Conversation with the Candidates," the event was moderated by Times Political Editor Adam C. Smith, Times Assistant Managing Editor/Politics Amy Hollyfield and Bay News 9 senior anchor Al Ruechel.

Sponsored by AARP, the event gave the three candidates their first chance to directly address each other in a contentious campaign that is already drawing national attention.

As the first major match-up in advance of this year's midterm elections, the contest is the proving ground for political arguments Republicans and Democrats hope will resonate with moderate voters in November.

Both major political parties are spending millions of dollars to flood the airwaves with attack ads in the swing-voting district. The special election is March 11.

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