Times to co-host debate for Congressional District 13 seat
The Tampa Bay Times, Bay News 9 and St. Petersburg College will partner to broadcast a debate in the general election race to succeed the late Republican U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young.
The Feb. 3 debate between the Democratic and Republican candidates will be hosted on the SPC Seminole campus by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions, and is sponsored by AARP.
The special election is March 11.
“We believe this debate will not only inform the voters of District 13 but will air issues of great importance to the people of the entire Tampa Bay region,” said Times Editor Neil Brown. “A congressional seat has high stakes for all of us.”
The debate will feature the winner of the Republican primary in January against Democrat Alex Sink. Republican candidates are Mark Bircher, David Jolly and Kathleen Peters. About 37 percent of the more than 455,000 voters in the district covering much of Pinellas County are Republican, 35 percent Democrat and about 28 percent independent or other party.
The debate will be moderated by Times Political Editor Adam C. Smith and Bay News 9 senior anchor Al Ruechel in a special edition of Political Connections.
The Times has produced debates for local, state and national offices for two decades, including races for Florida governor, Tampa and St. Petersburg mayors, the U.S. Senate and the 1996 national Vice Presidential Debate.