Young Republican group holds 'shootout' in Pasco

Young Republican group holds 'shootout' in Pasco

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Young Republicans hold event at Tampa Bay Sporting Clays in Land O'Lakes Young Republicans hold event at Tampa Bay Sporting Clays in Land O'Lakes
PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

A group of young Republicans is looking to grow its membership and its influence for future elections.

The Tampa Bay Young Republicans, made up of members age 18-40, is using the time between presidential and midterm elections to raise its profile with events like a so-called "shootout" held Friday at Tampa Bay Sporting Clays.

"I think there's been a time when the Young Republicans maybe weren't as prominent or relevant as they are now," said Florida state Rep. James Grant, a Republican who represents parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.

Grant, 30, said when it comes to the 2014 election, the group could play "any role."  Both older and younger generations can learn from each other, and the younger could have particular influence when it comes to the impact of digital strategies in campaigns, he said.

In Hillsborough County, 39 percent of registered voters are age 40 or younger, according to statistics from the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office. Of registered Republicans, 31 percent are age 40 or younger.

With Mitt Romney's loss in Florida and the Republican Party's efforts to reassess support after the 2012 election, the group sees an opening.

"There's no doubt we see a demographic shift with younger and younger candidates at the higher levels of government getting into elected office," said TBYR president Jonathan Torres. "And we want to have influence not only at the state level and federal level, but at the local level where it's most important."

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