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Florida - 10th District

Incumbent -- C.W. Bill Young (R) ; Running for re-election

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key
 

Updated Sept. 7, 2010

Young's personal popularity since his first House election in 1970 -- along with his seniority on the powerful Appropriations Committee, which he chaired earlier this decade -- has given him a 20-term tenure and his status as the longest-serving Republican currently in the House.

At 79, he was on retirement watch lists from the outset of the cycle and Democrats did their best to try to entice him into stepping down. However, Young's decision to run for a 21st term would appear to eliminate Democrats' chances of picking up the 10th district.

Young's landslide numbers have long exceeded the vote totals of Republican presidential candidates in the Tampa Bay district. That fact was underscored in 2008 when he cruised with 61 percent -- but Republican presidential nominee John McCain took 47 percent and lost to Barack Obama by 5 percentage points.

After running a series of little-known and under-financed opponents, Democrats recruited a solid challenger for 2010 in state Sen. Charlie Justice. But Justice -- who had been wooed by national Democratic leaders in 2008 but took a pass then -- hasn't exactly overwhelmed on the fundraising front.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

The 10th has sandy beaches, a modern urban center, moderate politics, and an economy reeling from a foreclosure crisis. The district takes in about 70 percent of Pinellas County's residents, including most of St. Petersburg and its upscale beachfront communities. It skirts most of Clearwater (shared with the 9th) in the central part of the county and grabs Dunedin and half of Palm Harbor at its northern tip.

Roughly one-fifth of the district's residents are 65 or older, and many retirees live in Largo and the Gulf Coast towns. Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg attract younger residents who want to live closer to major employers and Tampa.

A large part of the district's economy relies on tourism. Attractions such as The Pier and Sunken Gardens still lure visitors, but the sector has been vulnerable to nationwide economic downturns. Financial services and an emerging technology sector diversified the 10th's economy and brought more white-collar jobs to the area in the last decade but did not insulate Pinellas from rising unemployment rates.

Downtown St. Petersburg experienced a cultural revival with renovations to the Mahaffey Theater and the Ponce de Leon hotel, and locals flock to the area's museums, orchestra performances, theaters and nightclubs. Residents also take pride in the preservation of the area's white-sand beaches and wildlife areas.

Republicans hold a slight voter registration advantage over Democrats here, and the majority of locally elected officials are Republican: The Pinellas County Board of Commissioners, for example, has been controlled by the GOP since 1951. Twenty percent of district voters are registered as independent, however, and the 10th's loyalties can flip between parties in presidential elections. In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama carried the 10th with 52 percent of its presidential vote.

Major Industry

Tourism, health care, retail, technology

Cities

St. Petersburg (pt.), 179,045; Largo, 77,648; Pinellas Park, 49,079

notable

The Salvador Dalí Museum -- which moved to a new site on the St. Petersburg waterfront -- houses the largest collection of art by the Spanish surrealist outside of Europe.

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