Conservative Groups Hit Alex Sink on TV as Jeb Bush Backs David Jolly
Around the State
Outside groups continue to shape the special congressional election in Pinellas County as the candidates maneuver for position.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush is appearing in a TV ad unveiled Tuesday from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce praising David Jolly, the Republican candidate in the race. Jolly takes on Democratic candidate former state CFO Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby in the March 11 special election. The U.S. Chamber endorsed Jolly on Monday.
“He knows Pinellas County well and he’ll always stand up for you and for Florida,” Bush says in the ad about Jolly, adding he will cut “wasteful spending” and help improve the economy.
Jolly is getting air support from other groups as well. Conservative group American Action Network (AAN) is hitting the Pinellas County airwaves -- and hitting Sink.
AAN unveiled a new TV ad attacking Sink on Tuesday, hitting her record in both the private and public sectors. “Everywhere Alex Sink goes, a mess follows,” the narrator of the ad says. “As president of a Florida bank, thousands of Florida jobs were cut, while Sink collected over $8 million in salary and bonuses for herself. As Florida CFO, she approved lucrative contracts with her former bank, while our state’s pension fund was investigated for risky investments and lost billions. Alex Sink for Congress? Isn’t Washington already a mess?”
“From lost jobs to lost pensions, Floridians have suffered for years from the mess Alex Sink made in Florida,” said Emily Davis, a spokeswoman for AAN. “Despite the losses she handed Floridians, Alex Sink used her positions to make millions for herself and reward her former employer with lucrative contracts. Florida families simply can’t afford another Alex Sink mess in Washington.”
The ad, which is also being run online, is part of a $500,000 effort AAN will be running against Sink.
The Sink team pushed back in a message to supporters sent out on Tuesday. “David Jolly is wrong for Pinellas, but he’s got good reason to make his tea party supporters happy,” the Sink campaign insisted. “Super-PAC attacks against Alex are hitting the Pinellas airwaves. Funded by the likes of Karl Rove, these right-wing groups have already purchased millions in TV time to blast their negative ads ... the same forces backing the dysfunction in Washington are lining up against Alex. They’re eager to put their lobbyist friend David Jolly in Congress.”
But Sink is getting support from her own as liberal groups like House Majority PAC and Emily’s List continue to back her and attack Jolly. Sink is also getting help from the Democratic apparatus such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) which went after Jolly on Monday.
“Pinellas residents will see exactly why they can’t trust a Washington lobbyist like David Jolly who plays fast and loose with the truth,” said David Bergstein, a spokesman for the DCCC, on Thursday. “Lobbyist Jolly has already proven he’ll use Rick Scott-style attacks to twist the truth, but what’s even more troubling is that lobbyist Jolly would balance our budget by protecting unfair tax breaks for his corporate clients while making seniors, veterans and middle-class families pay more. In Congress, lobbyist Jolly would do what lobbyists always do – put special interests over Pinellas and make the gridlock worse.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) continues to back Jolly and go after Sink on his behalf.
Slamming Sink as “out of touch with the people of Pinellas County,” Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, tried to link the Democrat to President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Prill also took aim at Sink for not supporting a federal balanced budget amendment.
“Not only does she support giving President Obama and Nancy Pelosi a blank check, she also doesn’t think Washington needs to be held accountable for balancing our nation’s budget,” Prill said of Sink on Tuesday. “Whether it’s her hypocrisy over taking thousands from Washington lobbyists or the fact that she wants to give Obama and Pelosi a blank check – Alex Sink can’t be trusted to protect Pinellas in Congress.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.