Alex Sink, GOP Candidates Battle for Position in Pinellas County Special Election
Around the State
Republicans and Democrats alike are trying to get the attention of Pinellas County voters before politics gets moved to the backburner for the holidays.
With U.S. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., in Florida to raise money for former state CFO Alex Sink, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is on the attack. Sink is the Democratic candidate in the special election for the congressional seat left open by the death of longtime U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla.
Despite facing continued attacks from Republicans, Sink is looking to play up her opposition to flood insurance rate hikes. Over the weekend, Sink launched a petition urging Pinellas County residents to petition Congress to stop the rate hikes.
“This is exactly why I’m running for Congress,” Sink wrote supporters over the weekend. “Earlier this week, some in Congress blocked a measure that would have prevented an extraordinary flood insurance rate hike for Floridians. Once again, the gridlock and dysfunction of Congress are standing in the way of getting results and are taking money out of the pocket of Pinellas families.
“Well, I refuse to sit quietly while some in Congress refuse to act on issues important to you,” Sink added. “Will you join me in calling on Congress to prevent the flood insurance rate spike?
“Why is this issue so important?” Sink continued. “Our Pinellas homeowners have already paid eight times more into the flood insurance system than they have claimed, and without a fix, many people’s rates will suddenly jump to shocking amounts. We’ve got to stop congressional gridlock. Tell Congress to stop the rate spike.”
In the meantime, the various candidates maneuvered for position on Monday, trying to keep in the public eye before voters turn off the elections to focus on the holidays. The Sink campaign claimed momentum on Monday. “In less than two months, we’ve seen this campaign grow from a simple idea into thousands of supporters across Pinellas County and Florida working to get Alex elected to Congress,” the Sink campaign insisted on Monday.
On the Republican side, state Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-St. Petersburg, announced she had won the backing of Dunedin Mayor Dave Eggers
“The leadership that Congressman Bill Young provided Pinellas County is irreplaceable,” Eggers said on Monday. “He meant so much to every aspect of our community. He delivered for Dunedin because he understood our community. That’s why it’s so important that our next representative in Congress be as committed as Bill Young was.
"Our friend Kathleen Peters fits that mold and we are honored to endorse her today,” Eggers said before contrasting Peters to GOP primary rival David Jolly, a lawyer and former Young aide. “Kathleen Peters is one of us. She is a Pinellas insider, not a Washington insider. She served alongside us as a city official when she was mayor of South Pasadena. She has been a friend of Dunedin during her time as a state representative. But even before that, she was a Cub Scout leader, soccer and little league mom, involved with the YMCA, and a volunteer for too many charities to mention."
Jolly has been running ads focusing on his work with veterans and showcasing the endorsement of iconic game-show host Bob Barker. Over the weekend, Jolly was campaigning in Clearwater.
Jolly, Peters and retired Marines Gen. Mark Bircher tangle in the Jan. 14 Republican primary. Whoever wins will take on Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby in the general election on March 11.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.