Pinellas Park, Florida -- Another Republican is joining the race to fill the seat of the late Congressman C.W. Bill Young. State Rep. Kathleen Peters made her announcement Tuesday morning in Pinellas Park surrounded by a host of GOP supporters including state Senator Jack Latvala and Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
"I am truly a pragmatic, get the job done, dedicated Republican," Peters told the group gathered for her announcement. "I'm a 28-year resident of Pinellas County and I am here today to proudly announce that yes I am running for Congress."
Also qualifying to run for the GOP nomination are attorney and lobbyist David Jolly -- who previously received endorsements from Young's widow and former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker -- and lesser known candidate Mark Bircher.
"I welcome her to the race. I think Kathleen will be a great candidate," Jolly said following Peters announcement.
"What I want is somebody representing us, that understands what's going on on our Little League fields and understands what's going on in our schools and understands what's going on in our community," Peters told reporters Tuesday.
She then took a jab at her Republican primary opponent, David Jolly, by saying the country does not need "somebody who is out of touch and wrapped up in the gridlock and nonsense that's going on up there [in Washington D.C.]."
Peters, Jolly and Bircher will square off in a primary for the Congressional race, scheduled for January 14. The winner will then face lone Democrat Alex Sink, Florida's former chief financial officer, in a March 11 general election.
Libertarian Lucas Overby and write-in candidate Michael S. Levinson are also running.
The window for candidate filing closed at noon Tuesday.
The Tampa Bay area race is being watched closely as a potential bellwether of the national mood heading into the 2014 midterm elections. The Pinellas County seat is located in a swing-voting district that President Barack Obama carried in 2008 and 2012. President George W. Bush won the district in 2004.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Preston Rudie, WTSP 10 News