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Alex Sink in the Political Spotlight Even as GOP Primary Nears

January 6, 2014 - 6:00pm

Despite the Republican primary looming on Tuesday, much of the action in recent days in the special election for the congressional seat left open by the death of U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., concerns the Democratic candidate in the race.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) turned up the heat on former state CFO Alex Sink on Monday as she continues her bid for the congressional seat representing parts of Pinellas County. Sink has no opposition for the Democratic nomination while three Republican hopefuls battle it out in next weeks primary.

The NRCC looked to link Sink to President Barack Obamas federal health-care law, noting 30 members of Congress, including U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., raised $132,500 for her.

Its very troubling that Alex Sink has already tied herself to the most extreme members of Congress who created the train wreck that is Obamacare, said Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, on Monday. Pinellas County families are sick of the gridlock in Washington but Alex Sink is already proving that she is only interested in playing politics in Congress.

Sink and her team pushed back on Tuesday, hitting back at the Republicans even as the GOP holds its primary to determine who will face her in the general election.

This race is going to be competitive, Sink insisted on Tuesday, maintaining after the Republican primary special interests are going to pour millions of dollars into Pinellas to try and derail our campaign with misleading ads.

Sinks campaign also looked to play up that theme on Tuesday, sending out an email to supporters with much the same message.

As soon as the primary is over, outside special interests -- likely including large, secretly funded super-PACs -- are going to bombard Pinellas County with misleading ads and spend whatever it takes to protect the status quo in Washington, Sinks campaign emailed supporters. These special interest groups will expectedly spend millions of dollars within just a few weeks to try and make sure theres yet another voice in Congress to back their reckless agenda of obstruction. Thats no way to govern, and Alex is ready to change that.

But even as Sink and her team insist the Republicans will rely on special interests, they are also relying on outside groups. On Tuesday, the Florida Democratic Party sent out a fundraising email under Executive Director Scott Arceneauxs name for Sink. The Sink campaign is also holding a media event on Wednesday to announce the Alliance for Retired Americans will support her.

Alex Sink has earned our support in the past during her tenure as Floridas CFO, said Barbara Easterling, the president of the group, on Tuesday. Her leadership today continues on issues such as fighting benefit cuts to Social Security and strengthening the Social Security and Medicare systems.

Three Republicans -- former Marines Gen. Mark Bircher, attorney and former Young aide David Jolly and state Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-St. Petersburg -- are battling in next weeks primary. Whoever wins the primary will take on Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby in the March 11 election.

Reach Kevin Derby at

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