Jack Latvala's David Jolly Endorsement Turns Up the Heat in CD 13
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With less than two weeks to go, the stakes just went up in the battle for an open congressional seat representing parts of Pinellas County.
While he backed state Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-St. Petersburg, in the primary, Florida Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, Thursday endorsed David Jolly, the Republican running in the special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla. Jolly takes on former state CFO Alex Sink, the Democratic nominee, and Libertarian Lucas Overby in the March 11 special election.
“I ask every voter today to take a long, hard look at Alex Sink’s history as a career politician who will clearly be a rubber stamp for the Obama agenda and will put the interests of her Washington backers above the interests of Pinellas County,” Latvala said.
“From what we are seeing, this is going to be a tight race come March 11th, but if voters base this decision on what truly matters – the ability to serve the people of Pinellas County, help grow our businesses and our economy and help fight Obamacare’s onerous impact on our seniors and our residents – the choice is actually quite clear," Latvala said. "It is clear Alex Sink continues to grow more and more out of step with what really matters to this community and will defend Obamacare and the Washington establishment at all costs. Let’s cast our vote for David Jolly – a man who will work to protect the jobs and the people of Pinellas County.”
Jolly replied quickly. “I thank Sen. Latvala for his support in this race to represent Pinellas County in Washington. I have said this from the very beginning, this is a Pinellas County race and as the senator well knows, we are a strong, vibrant community but we have many issues that need attention at the local, state and national level. We know everything that is wrong with Washington and we have to fix it. Job-crippling policies enacted by Obamacare have reduced worker hours and created uncertainty for our employers – that is no way to help grow our economy.
“We need to elect someone with a record of helping protect and grow local jobs here in Pinellas County,” Jolly added. “I worked with my mentor Bill Young on behalf of this community for nearly 20 years and have worked with small and large businesses throughout our district and county to grow manufacturing, high-tech and defense jobs for our skilled and unskilled workforce. I am ready to continue this commitment when we win this race on March 11th and head to Washington. Our friends and neighbors, our job creators and members of our local workforce deserve to be represented by someone who will put Pinellas County above the Washington agenda and the support of Obamacare.”
But the Florida Democratic Party highlighted Latvala’s criticism of Jolly during the primary, showcasing the state senator’s criticism of the congressional candidate’s lobbying in Washington and questioning his roots in the district.
“Republican Jack Latvala hit the nail on the head in the primary,” said Joshua Karp, a spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party. “Pinellas residents just can’t trust Washington lobbyist David Jolly.
“Even Republicans like Latvala criticized special-interest lobbyists as ‘just not part of our community,’ because it’s clear lobbyist David Jolly does not share Pinellas County values,” Karp added. “From wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade to opposing paycheck fairness for women, lobbyist Jolly’s radical tea party ideology could not be more out of step with the voters of Florida’s 13th Congressional District.”
In the meantime, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Victory Fund and the Sierra Club Political Committee teamed up on Thursday to launch a new television ad attacking Jolly for being skeptical of global warming. The groups are spending $350,000 on the new ad.
“David Jolly shouldn’t serve in Congress if he won’t acknowledge basic scientific facts,” said Gene Karpinski, president of LCV Victory Fund on Thursday. “Climate change is already posing a threat to Pinellas, and we can’t afford to have David Jolly in Congress standing in the way of action.”
But even as those groups run a new ad, joining the likes of Emily’s List and House Majority PAC in launching ads attacking Jolly, Sink bemoaned “special interests,” specifically bringing up American Crossroads, a Republican super-PAC affiliated with Karl Rove, getting involved in the race.
“I wish Karl Rove and outside special interests were not spending millions of dollars trying to buy this campaign for their tea party candidate,” Sink emailed supporters on Thursday."They've spent more than $3 million in nasty attack ads against me, straight out of the Rick Scott playbook.”
Despite moving from Hillsborough County to the district after Young died, Sink played up her commitment to the Pinellas County district on Thursday.
“I’m focused on doing everything I can to make sure the voices of Pinellas County are heard in the halls of Congress,” Sink insisted. “Pinellas deserves a representative who can bring Republicans and Democrats together to solve our most pressing problems. It's not surprising that Karl Rove and shady super-PACs don’t share our concerns. They think with enough dollar signs, they can drown out the voices of real folks in Pinellas.”
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.