The final day of qualifying for U.S. House races left another Tampa Bay area seat open, but no higher odds that the balance of power will tilt.
U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Bartow, is running for Florida agriculture commissioner and leaving his district, which includes part of Hillsborough County, up for grabs. Another Republican seat also opened up Friday with U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite's surprise retirement.
Washington-based analysts at Cook Political Report, however, have predicted Putnam's seat will likely stay with Republicans and Brown-Waite's district trend is considered more solidly behind the GOP.
Elsewhere, U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, will try for a 21st term against state Sen. Charlie Justice, D-St. Petersburg. Young was lobbied to skip retirement so the Republican Party could maintain its hold on the district.
Voters there favored President Obama in the 2008 election, but Justice's bid lost steam when Young announced another run this year. A poll for Justice in early April showed Young with a 15 percentage point lead, though Justice's campaign said it also highlighted anti-incumbent moods weakening Young's chances.
In other races, Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, and Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, are seeking re-election. Analysts for the Cook Political Report and National Journal have not considered their races competitive.
Qualifying also ended Friday for Florida judicial races. Qualifying for governor, legislative, county and other races is June 14 to 18.
David DeCamp can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8779.