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Baker, Welch among those who could run to replace Young | News

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Baker, Welch among those who could run to replace Young

St. Petersburg, FL - For years politicians have been waiting for U.S. Representative C.W. Bill Young to retire. But the wait is now over after the 82-year-old announced on Wednesday that he's stepping down next year.

"I think there's going to be a very crowded field," predicted Republican consultant Dave Zachem.

STORY: Rep C.W. Bill Young to retire

"A lot of politicians have been waiting for this moment on both sides of the fence so it will be interesting," added St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, who also said he's not interested in the job.

On the Republican side, those already mentioned include former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker who didn't rule out a run on Wednesday.

"I never count anything out, but I don't think today is the day to be really, for me or a lot of people, to be speculating on who is going to follow him or who is going to come next. Today is a day to honor Bill Young," Baker told 10 News.

And other GOP names being mentioned include state Senator Jack Latvala, former state lawmaker Dennis Jones and state Senator Jeff Brandes.

"I think the name you are going to hear the most is Sen. Jeff Brandes, who fits more of the profile of Congress," said political consultant Peter Schorsch. "He's independently wealthy; he's got a record as an army veteran and he's kind of got a political philosophy that meshes better with the current Republican leadership."

Like Baker, Brandes said he was "humbled to be considered" but wanted Wednesday's focus to be on Young.

On the Democratic side, St. Pete Lawyer Jessica Ehrlich, who unsuccessfully ran against Young in 2012, has already announced her candidacy. Others who might run include state Representative Darryl Rouson and Pinellas County Board Chair Ken Welch.

Welch told 10 News he is "evaluating the opportunity," but noted it would require him to move.

Then there is former Governor Charlie Crist. Some believe the one time Republican turned Democrat may be the wildcard.

"I think there's going to be a lot of pressure on Charlie Crist to run for this seat but I think at the end of the day he's laid too much ground work to run for Governor in 2014 and he'll demure," Schorsch said.


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