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Listen to the Congressional District 13 Candidate's Forum

Steve Newborn

C.W. Bill Young was a fixture in Congress for decades, and his recent death has opened up a floodgate of candidates who want to succeed him in Congress. Five of them took part in a forum Friday at the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club in St. Petersburg. Three of them will face off in a Republican primary on January 14. The winner of that race will go up against the Democrat, former Florida CFO Alex Sink, and Libertarian candidate Lucas Overby on March 11.


And if they win - they'll be in office for only eight months. They'll have to do it all over again during the regular election next November.

The biggest name in this contest is Alex Sink. The former state Chief Financial Officer lost in the last race for governor to Rick Scott. Since then, she's lost her husband, former gubernatorial candidate Bill McBride, and is moving from her home in Hillsborough to the Pinellas County district.

One of the Republican candidates is Mark Bircher, 60. He's a retired Marine Corps general,  an airline pilot and lawyer. He thinks he'll be a good congressman because he's used to running large organizations.

Another Republican is David Jolly, and he's no stranger to this Congressional seat. He's spent most of his career working for Bill Young, most recently as his general counsel. He's also has worked as a consultant, lawyer and lobbyist

State Representative Kathleen Peters also wants to make the switch from Tallahassee to Washington, D.C. She's a former South Pasadena mayor and city commissioner. Peters says she was approached by a lot of people to run for the higher office.

Lucas Overby, 27, is a commercial diver who has worked on various grass roots causes, but whose website calls him the "quintessential political outsider."

In the forum, we'll hear first from Bircher, then Peters, Jolly, Sink and Overby.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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