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Published Oct. 18, 2013

Sara Fritz, an award-winning journalist and former Washington bureau chief for the St. Petersburg Times, died Wednesday in Washington. She was 68.

Ms. Fritz had been hospitalized at George Washington Hospital for more than a month after developing a lung infection following successful surgery for a hip replacement, according to a statement from Washington's Gridiron Club, of which she was a member.

Ms. Fritz was Washington bureau chief for the St. Petersburg Times, now the Tampa Bay Times, from 1999 to 2004.

"Sara Fritz was one of Washington's most respected watchdog reporters and she was a credit to our newsroom," Times editor Neil Brown said.

Tim Nickens, editor of editorials, covered the 2000 presidential campaign for the Times with Ms. Fritz, who had years of Washington experience.

"Sara was a wonderful colleague who could quickly spot a shift in campaign strategy and smartly analyze the impact. I will always remember her kindness and her generous sharing of story ideas, political sources and bylines," Nickens said.

A graduate of Denison University in Ohio, Ms. Fritz also worked for United Press International and U.S. News & World Report before joining the Los Angeles Times, where she worked as a reporter and investigative editor from 1983 to 1997. She became managing editor of Congressional Quarterly's CQ Weekly Report in 1997.

She was the author of The Handbook of Campaign Spending and Gold-Plated Politics: Running for Congress in the 1990s. She won the Everett Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting on Congress and Harvard University's Goldsmith Prize for investigative reporting.

She is survived by her daughter, Mary; her husband, James A. Kidney; and two sisters.