FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2010 file photo, Alex Sink, speaks during a gubernatorial debate in Miami. Sink announced Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2-13 that she will move to Pinellas County and run for the congressional seat that had been held by U.S. Rep. Bill Young. Young died earlier this month. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File)
FILE -Alex Sink (AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File)

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. -- Democratic congressional candidate Alex Sink defended herself against claims that she is a carpetbagger, saying in a weekend interview here that she has years of business experience in the 13th district and a good knowledge of the area.

“It’s not like I moved from Miami,” she said.

Sink is running for late-Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young's seat. The long-serving Republican died in October, triggering a March special election in this swing district.

Sink moved into the district -- which lies just west of Tampa -- shortly after launching her campaign last fall, triggering criticism from opponents. She had lived in Thonotosassa, some 30 miles away.

Sink "barely put her big toe in the community," said state Rep. Kathleen Peters (R), who is also running for the seat.

The Democrat responded that she has established deep ties with the business community in the district and represented the area when she was chief financial officer of Florida, a statewide position. Sink carried the district when she ran for governor in 2010.

"There's my business experience here for 25 years [and] the fact that I had the privilege or representing the people of this area when I served in Tallahassee," she said.

The primary is Tuesday. Three Republicans are vying for their party's nomination. Sink is unopposed on the Democratic side.