Thursday, May 24, 2018
Politics

It's decision time in Pinellas congressional election

All the attack ads and campaigning end today, as voters in Pinellas County's nationally watched political battle send a new representative to Congress.

An unprecedented $12 million has poured into the hotly contested race between Republican David Jolly and Democrat Alex Sink, with politicos split on who will claim victory, what it will mean for the political parties, what it will say about Obamacare and what it will signal for the nationwide congressional elections later this year.

By now, voters have been inundated with information and misrepresentations. Here's a by-the-numbers look at the election:

0 Number of Hillsborough County residents who get to vote in this race. They have had to watch the same number of annoying television commercials as those who do live in Congressional District 13. It's confusing enough that Hillsborough's elections supervisor recently tweeted: "We are not having an election right now. Your next chance to vote will be in the Aug. 26 primary."

122,314 Voters who already turned in their ballots as of Sunday.

51,892 Registered Republicans who turned in ballots as of Sunday.

47,269 Registered Democrats who turned in ballots as of Sunday.

23,153 People who are neither Republicans nor Democrats who turned in ballots as of Sunday.

0 Registered voters in Tarpon Springs who get to vote in the congressional election. They live in Pinellas, though outside of District 13, which also cuts out downtown and southern St. Petersburg.

3 Number of congressional candidates: Jolly, Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby.

3 Number of those candidates who believe voters are getting frustrated by all the campaign commercials.

1 Number of mass-mailed fliers with pictures of flying saucers hovering over the U.S. Capitol, depicting Jolly as part of an alien invasion.

1 Number of mass-mailed fliers depicting Sink with pompoms and in uniform as "a cheerleader for Barack Obama's agenda in Washington."

$53 Conservative estimate of cost per vote, based on campaign spending.

10 Rough count of national media outlets covering the Pinellas congressional race in the past week, including the Los Angeles Times, which said "The outsized impact of outside groups has at times made the candidates seem like secondary players following scripts designed in Washington." The Washington Post called the race "the first real test of 2014 voter moods on Tuesday in a down-to-the-wire congressional race that each side is using to hone its messages for November."

5 Months until we get to do it all over again. Longtime Republican U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young died in October, triggering this special election. Today's winner will serve out the remainder of Young's term, and then a regularly scheduled election later this year will decide who serves the next full two-year term. In that race, the primary will be Aug. 26 and the general election Nov. 4.

12 Municipal elections also being held today. Voters in these cities also head to the polls to pick new leaders and decide a referendum: Belleair Bluffs, Clearwater, Gulfport, Indian Shores, Kenneth City, Madeira Beach, Pinellas Park, Redington Shores, Safety Harbor, South Pasadena, St. Pete Beach and Tarpon Springs.

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