Nobody said that replacing the late GOP Rep. C.W. Bill Young, who died last week at age 82, would be easy. A special election often means a radically shortened campaign schedule, with tremendous financial consequences. In addition, the race for Pinellas County’s 13th congressional district is sure to garner national attention as a seat uncontested for decades that now suddenly becomes a swing district. Both Democrats and Republicans are taking the struggle for the remaining 14 months of Young’s term as a sort of measure of the national mood, even before Gov. Rick Scott sets a date for the special election. “It’ll be a perfect storm of a special election,” GOP political consultant Sarah Bascom told Kate Bradshaw of the Tampa Tribune. “If you consider the time frame, if you consider the environment.”
Whoever wins will have to start campaigning for re-election straightaway, since the qualifying period for the 2014 mid-terms ends in May, with a primary in August and the general election in November.
There are few restrictions on a special election in Florida. Scott is in charge of setting the qualifying period, with no statutes regarding length. All that is required is a two-week period between qualifying and the primary, and another two weeks minimum until the election.