Where was Crist's Pinellas advantage?
Among the bigger surprises of Tuesday’s election was Pinellas County’s relatively lackluster support for hometown boy Charlie Crist. The Republican nominee beat Democrat Jim Davis in Florida’s most consistent bellwether county comfortably, but by slightly smaller margin - 51 percent to 45 percent - than he won statewide.
"I thought it would be at least 60-40. But the people say, "You know something, we back up our party and they still don’t do what they say they’ll do. "It’s frustration and apathy,’’ said Pinellas GOP Chairman Tony DiMatteo, suggesting Washington scandals and nasty campaign ads also hurt turnout.
Pinellas, loaded with competitive open legislative races, beat the statewide turnout average, but still had an anemic 47.6 percent turnout. That didn't help Crist. Nor did Reform Party candidate Max Linn of St. Petersburg - who received 3.7 percent of the vote. Democrats picked off two state House seats and a state Senate seat in Pinellas, but Dimatteo said the local party had little to do with those, and that given the climate he was pleased with the overall results.