Nov. 25, 2015 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Florida - 9th District

Incumbent -- Gus Bilirakis (R) ; Running for re-election

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key

CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Suburban and rural areas northwest of Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg form the bulk of Florida's mostly residential 9th District, which encompasses coastal areas of Pinellas and Pasco counties as well as a large chunk of mostly suburban Hillsborough County.

With a large number of retirees from the North, a significant portion of the population is 65 or older. Clearwater (shared with the 10th) is known as a beach resort and is the "spiritual headquarters" of the Church of Scientology, which has a large community here. Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs have long-established Greek Orthodox populations.

For decades, the 9th's economy was driven by tourism, fueled by "snowbirds" who spend winters here and visitors to its beaches. Plant City is the exception, as families move in from out of state and settle in the mid-size city. Many year-round residents commute to nearby Tampa or St. Petersburg. Years of growth in the district encouraged a local real estate boom that has since collapsed. Real estate values continue to decline across the district -- the double-digit drops have targeted both well-off enclaves as well as struggling communities -- and neighborhoods full of foreclosed homes dot the suburbs. Service-oriented industries had supplemented the construction and hospitality industries, but layoffs in retail sectors have hurt the economy.

The 9th long has been a home for mostly GOP retirees, and Republicans retain an edge here due to their dominance in the district's portion of Hillsborough. Many of Hillsborough's most heavily GOP precincts are in the 9th despite a strong lean in favor of Democratic candidates in the county overall. The district's part of Pinellas also is decidedly Republican, while the two parties are nearly even in registration in its share of Pasco County. In 2008, Republican John McCain won the district with 52 percent of its presidential vote.

Major Industry

Tourism, service, health care, technology


Clearwater (pt.), 77,929; Tampa (pt.), 41,764


Tarpon Springs, still known as the "Sponge Capital of the World," was settled in the late 19th century by Greek immigrants who came to dive for the natural sponges.




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