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Pinellas a Key 'County To Watch' in Primary

Pinellas County is a "prime example of moderate Republicanism," according to Tampa Bay Times political writer Adam C. Smith.

Pinellas is one of five key Florida counties to watch in today's Presidential Preference Primary, according to Tampa Bay Times political writer Adam C. Smith.

According to Smith, the Tampa Bay region makes up about 26 percent of the primary electorate, more than any other media market in the state. Smith singles out Pinellas as "a prime example of moderate Republicanism" where John McCain in 2008 easily beat Mitt Romney by 9,000 votes, or nearly 8 percentage points.

That could explain  one day before Pinellas Republicans go to the polls. "This year, Pinellas should be Romney country," Smith writes.

Pinellas voters also have "a maverick streak," Smith writes, with Ron Paul in 2008 and Ralph Nader in 2000 receiving more votes here than in any other Florida county.

A  released a day ahead of the election showed shows Romney with 42 percent of likely Florida voters, compared to 31 percent for Newt Gingrich. Rick Santorum followed with 14 percent, and Ron Paul had 6 percent.

If you're heading out to the polls today in Clearwater, . , here's what you need to know. 

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