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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Our prediction for CD 13 race

Jolly, Sink, Overby

TBT

Jolly, Sink, Overby

10

March

As of Sunday, more than 122,000 votes had been cast in the special election for Congressional District 13 in Pinellas County. The Republican advantage in votes cast to date has grown to more 4,623 votes. Presumably, a lot of ballots come in today and tomorrow.

We had been arguing that the Republican lead in mail-in votes cast was below where Republican nominee David Jolly needed it to be, but there's no question after the past five days he heads into election day with the momentum and with some wind at his back (Just as Obama had in 2012 when early voting was much stronger than in this election).

A giant question is turnout. Republicans working with Jolly expect that by the time polls close Tuesday around 170,000 people will have voted - about half as many as voted in the 2012 presidential election. If that's accurate, Jolly probably is on track to win.

Alex Sink allies are counting on a higher turnout, more like 200,000, to deliver her the seat even though Republican turnout is typically higher on election day. Democrats do appear to have a stronger GOTV operation - because Ashley Walker & Co. know Democrats need a lot more pushing to vote - so a big turnout could put Sink over the top. Two hundred thousand-plus voters does seem plausible, even for a special election, given the amount of attention on the race. In 2010, more than 216,000 voters turned out in that district.

We assume Sink will win more independent votes than Jolly and that she will win more Republicans than Jolly wins Democrats, though still not a great many.

So here's my prediction for tomorrow: Toss a coin, and you'll have as good a shot at picking the winner as by analyzing the votes cast so far.

I have gone from thinking during most of the campaign that Jolly would win based on the inherent GOP turnout advantage in a special election, to thinking Sink would pull it out based on early mail ballot returns. Now I'd give a tiny edge to Jolly, based on momentum. Of course, I also predicted Mitt Romney would edge Barack Obama in Florida in 2012.

[Last modified: Monday, March 10, 2014 4:46pm]

    

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