No free rides to Congress for Tampa Bay area delegation

Friday was the qualifying deadline for candidates running for Congress. All of the local incumbents drew opponents, some of them new to the political arena, others are old foes.

• The race in the 11th Congressional District is a rerun of the 2006 general election. Once again, Democrat Kathy Castor and Republican Eddie Adams Jr., a Temple Terrace architect, will face off to represent much of Hillsborough County and slivers of Pinellas and Manatee counties. Castor defeated Adams 67 percent to 32 percent last time around.

Castor, formerly a land use lawyer, is serving her first term in Congress. She previously was a Hillsborough County commissioner.

• Democrat Doug Tudor, who lives in Riverview, is challenging Republican incumbent Adam Putnam in the 12th Congressional District that includes much of Polk County, parts of Hillsborough County and a sliver of Osceola County.

Tudor, a first-time candidate, recently retired from the Navy. Putnam, a fifth-generation Floridian from a citrus and cattle ranching family, is seeking his fifth term in Congress.

• Three Democrats are challenging the longest-serving Republican in the House, Rep. C.W. Bill Young. They are Samm Simpson, who ran against Young in 2006 and garnered about 34 percent of the vote; Max Linn, a multimillionaire financial planner who faced Charlie Crist as the Reform Party candidate for governor in 2006; and Bob Hackworth, Dunedin mayor and recent convert to the Democratic Party.

Both Simpson and Linn question Young's support of Bush administration policies, while Hackworth has emphasized fiscal responsibility. Write-in candidate Don Callahan of Treasure Island also qualified.

The most senior Republican in the House, Young was first elected in 1970. He is running for his 20th term.

• In District 9, Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis faces six challengers. The three Democrats are Anita de Palma, a civil rights activist for women and Hispanics; former Plant City Mayor John Dicks; and Bill Mitchell, a Tampa lawyer who served in the Navy. Term Limits Party candidate Richard O. Emmons, independent John Kalimnios and write-in candidate Andrew Pasayan also qualified.

Bilirakis is serving in his first term in a seat his father, Michael, held for more than two decades.

District 9 spans northern Pinellas, western Pasco and suburban Hillsborough counties.

• After the filing deadline, it appeared no party-backed Democrat will challenge Republican Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite for the District 5 seat.

Three Democratic candidates made the ballot: John Russell, a controversial candidate who lost big against her in 2006; Carol Castagnero, known as "Grandma" from her failed bid for governor last election; and David Werder, a perennial opponent from Hudson.

Brown-Waite's toughest contest will likely come from her own party. Republican Jim King of Land O'Lakes has already started running political advertisements against her and plans to mount a strong campaign.

District 5 stretches through eight counties, including Hernando, Citrus and part of Pasco.

Staff writers Janet Zink and John Frank contributed to this report.

No free rides to Congress for Tampa Bay area delegation 05/02/08 [Last modified: Sunday, May 4, 2008 11:46am]

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