Alex Sink Goes to Washington?
Around the State
Weeks after closing the door to running again for governor, Alex Sink could be on the verge of a political comeback. While she hasn’t officially jumped in, Sink is well-positioned to enter the contest for the Tampa Bay congressional seat left open by Bill Young’s retirement.
If she enters the contest, Sink would have to be considered the front-runner in the race. There are more registered Republicans in the Pinellas County district than Democrats. But, despite the almost 3 percent GOP edge, voters here often back Democrats and Young often found himself winning contests despite Democratic presidential candidates carrying his district. Sink has some experience with this trend. Back in 2010, Sink beat Rick Scott here in the close gubernatorial contest.
But Sink is getting a hard look from Democrats across the nation. The likes of St. Petersblog and the Tampa Bay Times report that Sink is being heavily recruited by Democrats at the national level. The same Democrats who were trying to clear the decks for Crist are now turning to Sink to enter the race.
Sink provides the Democrats a good chance of picking up a seat currently held by Republicans. Democrats continue to argue that they can pick up the U.S. House as voters turn against Republicans in swing districts over the federal shutdown. Recent polls certainly reinforce this, but it’ll be hard to sustain that momentum for more than a year.
Even though she lives outside the district, Sink would give Democrats a bit of star power in the race. The same can’t be said of Jessica Ehrlich, who never really stopped running after losing to Young in 2010, and other Democrats who could enter the race like Charlie Justice or Janet Long. With a lot of the big names like Ken Welch, Crist, Jack Latvala and Jeff Brandes showing no interest in running, Sink should be the only entrant close to a political heavyweight in the race.
Sink would be a clear favorite over Ehrlich and other hopefuls who could be angling for the Democratic nomination. The former state CFO would also start out with the lead over whoever emerges as the Republican candidate in the race. If Democrats are going to flip the House in 2014, they’ll need to pick up seats in Florida. With Gwen Graham running hard against Steve Southerland and Sink thinking about running for Young’s seat, it appears they’ll have their opportunities.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.