Former Capitol Hill staffer David Jolly leads a tight three-way race to succeed his former boss, the late GOP congressman Charles W. “Billy” Young, according to a Jan. 8 Human Events/Gravis poll conducted with 976 registered Republicans in Florida’s 13th Congressional District for their Jan. 14 primary and on current issues.
Young, who died Oct. 18 at Walter Reed Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., was first elected to represent the St. Petersburg district in 1970.
Both candidates running against Jolly, state Rep. Kathleen Peters and retired fighter pilot Marine Brig. Gen. Mark Bircher are within striking distance, said Doug Kaplan, president of Gravis, a Florida-based polling and marketing company.
Jolly leads the pack with 34 percent, followed by Peters with 28 percent and Bircher 25 percent, Kaplan said. The poll carried a margin of error of 3 percent.
Mark Zubaly, Peters’ campaign manager, said he knows he is in a tight race.
“I think the campaign is going well,” he said. “Due to the compression of this special election we have no doubt the primary will be tight.”
All three candidates have garnered high-profile endorsements.
Bircher was endorsed by his fellow Iraq War veteran former congressman Allen West.
Peters was endorsed by one of Young’s sons, Bill Young II, while his mother Beverly, the late congressman’s second wife, endorsed Jolly.
Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner set March 11 as the date of the general election.
Detzner also set the price of running with a party affiliation at $10,440 and $6,960 to run without a party affiliation. Candidates must have also collected 1,172 signatures on their petition to be put on the ballot.
Among those respondents who already voted, Peters leads with 52 percent, compared to Jolly’s 31 percent and Bircher’s 17 percent, he said. Early voting runs from Jan. 4 to Jan. 12 for the primary and from March 1 to March 9 for the general election.
Democrat A. A. “Alex” Sink, who lost to Gov. Rick Scott in 2010 is running unopposed.
In addition to the primary race, Florida-13 Republicans were asked about different issues.
The respondents said they opposed amnesty for illegal aliens by a rate of 78 percent to 13 percent with 6 percent unsure.
Other results were:
- Should mothers serving in the military be ordered into combat zones? 54 percent against and 31 percent supporting;
- Should the federal government approve firearm transactions before they are completed? 49 percent opposed and 29 percent supporting;
- Should the federal government regulate video games that use firearm scenarios? 54 percent opposed and 26 percent supporting.