Created: Tue, 14 Jan 2014 09:15:17 EST
Updated: Tue, 14 Jan 2014 09:15:17 EST
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A longtime aide to U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young captured the Republican nomination Tuesday for a special election to fill the House seat of the late congressman.
With 44 percent of the vote, David Jolly bested state Rep. Kathleen Peters and retired Marine Brig. Gen. Mark Bircher in a Florida's Gulf Coast district covering most of densely populated Pinellas County. One of the longest-serving Republicans in the House, Young represented the area for more than four decades before his death at 82 in October.
Jolly will face Democrat Alex Sink, Florida's former chief financial officer, and a Libertarian candidate in the March 11 general election. That race looms as a possible testing ground for arguments by Democrats and Republicans on such national issues as President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.