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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats woo Welch to run for Young seat




With questions over U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young's health, national Democrats have begun talks with Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch about running for Young's long-held seat in 2012.

Welch, a St. Petersburg resident, met the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's southern political director, Charlie Kelly, on Thursday at a Panera restaurant in Clearwater. There over coffee, they spoke of the potential costs ($2 million to $3 million), and how redistricting may change the district.

Welch lives in U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor's district, but new boundary lines are expected to change the Young district to include all of southern Pinellas.

On Friday, however, Welch said he will not run against Young, 80, because of the help Young has lent to improving U.S. 19 and building the Job Corps site in St. Pete. But he's not closing the door to a run, either.

"My focus now is putting my County Commission campaign together. That’s my focus, that’s my priority. My team is almost finished," Welch said, though he acknowledged, "It’s just something you keep your eyes on."

Kelly declined comment.

[Last modified: Friday, July 15, 2011 12:40pm]


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