TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A special election in Pasco County is being watched across the state. Voters will choose a replacement for a popular state House member, and the race is seen by many as a crystal ball for the 2014 governor's race.
Voters in Pasco County chose Republican Rick Scott in 2010 and Democrat President Obama in 2012. They are now being inundated with nasty mailers in a coming special election. Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant calls it, "The Barn Burner."
Bill Gunter, the Republican, is the favorite of GOP leaders in Tallahassee. Amanda Murphy is the Democrat. The two are vying to replace an extremely popular and longtime legislative maverick, Mike Fasano.
Because the district is a toss up and moderate, many here believe that the results could be a mirror of how a Charlie Crist and Scott race might turn out.
Crist has gotten into the fray; the former GOP governor and likely standard bearer for Democrats in 2014 has endorsed Murphy.
"It's an important race," said Crist. "Amanda is an amazing person. She'll be a great representative."
While Fasano didn't endorse, he did let slip that he voted for Murphy.
Money is pouring in to both campaigns from the state parties.
"We'll see how it goes, I don't know if it's a bellwether or not," said Tant. "We'll know on Election Day."
The Republican Party of Florida declined to comment on the race.
Turnout in special elections is notoriously low, and that means the outcome will likely depend more on organization than endorsements.
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