Two-Sided Attacks Fly in Pinellas Congressional Battle

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: January 11, 2014 3:55 AM
Alex Sink and David Jolly

Alex Sink and David Jolly

The attacks continue in the special election to fill the Pinellas County congressional seat that had been held by U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., for more than 40 years.

Doubling down on their attacks on former state CFO Alex Sink’s rapid response efforts, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) continued to pound her, unveiling a website bashing the Democratic candidate.

“Alex Sink owes the families of Pinellas an explanation about why she hurt Florida seniors by losing money in the state’s pension fund as CFO and why she supports higher taxes,” said Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, on Friday as the site was launched. “It’s very troubling that Sink is trying to cover up her dismal record and hide from her support of Obamacare. The last thing folks in Pinellas need is another career politician trying to deceive voters.”

Sink explained her rapid response to supporters on Thursday afternoon as a “new, online campaign to fight back against false attacks by mobilizing supporters with the facts about Alex’s record of bringing Republicans and Democrats together to solve problems.” The Sink team is also planning to rely on social media to respond to Republican attacks.

In the meantime, Republicans are gearing up for Tuesday’s primary to see who will take on Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby in the special election on March 14.

St. Pete Polls released a poll commissioned by Saint PetersBlog which shows attorney David Jolly, a former Young aide, with a solid lead over two Republican rivals. The poll finds Jolly in front with 37 percent followed by retired Marines Gen. Mark Bircher with 26 percent and state Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-St. Petersburg, in third with 24 percent. A St. Pete Poll from a month ago showed Jolly and Peters locked in a close contest and one from 10 days ago showed Peters in second, ahead of Bircher.

The poll of 653 registered Republicans in the district was conducted Jan. 9 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent.

Democrats are certainly starting to act as if Jolly will be the Republican congressional committee. Earlier this week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) hit Jolly for his lobbying work, insisting his work for oil companies and on energy put him at odds with voters in the district.

"Washington lobbyist David Jolly is proving exactly why Pinellas residents don’t trust D.C. lobbyists – lying to Pinellas residents about his record of lobbying for offshore drilling,” said David Bergstein, a spokesman for the DCCC. “It’s exactly dishonest lobbyists like Jolly who are responsible for the dysfunctional politics and gridlock in Washington that hurts Pinellas families – and it’s another example proving that David Jolly would do what lobbyists always do in Congress: make things worse.”

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

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