John Boehner and GOP Leadership Try to Counter Bill Clinton in CD 13
Around the State
In the final days of the special election for the congressional seat left open by the death of longtime U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., candidates are making their final outreach bids and launching their last attacks.
The Republican leadership controlling the U.S. House ramped up their support behind David Jolly, the Republican candidate in the special congressional election in Pinellas County. Jolly takes on Democrat former state CFO Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby in Tuesday’s election.
“A Republican win next week against Barack Obama’s and Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked candidate will help our team build momentum here in 2014,” Boehner insisted. “Don’t let the Left steal this election in its final days. This is anyone’s race.”
Boehner also praised Jolly. “David Jolly will be a welcome addition to our team that’s fighting for lower taxes, more jobs, and balanced budgets,” Boehner maintained.
Other prominent Republican congressmen are also going to bat for Jolly in the final days of the campaign. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., best known for being Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012, held a conference call in support of Jolly on Thursday while U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, held an event focus on veterans with the candidate on Friday.
But Sink has big-name Democrats trumpeting their support of her candidacy. After recording a robocall that ran in the district earlier in the week, former President Bill Clinton sent out an email under his name encouraging Democrats to rally behind her.
“The stakes couldn’t be higher in this Florida special election,” Clinton wrote. “I’m supporting Alex because she’s a proven leader who will work to solve problems and expand opportunities, and I urge you to support her too.”
Like Boehner, Clinton painted the race as a close contest. “I’ve followed this race pretty closely. And everything indicates it’s a dead-heat,” Clinton insisted. “The last thing we want is to wake up the day after regretting that we didn’t do more to help Alex win.”
In the meantime, at the state and national levels, party leaders exchanged fire with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) hitting Sink for supporting President Barack Obama’s health-care law while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) hit Jolly’s lobbying background and positions on the budget.
“Alex Sink has promoted Obamacare every step of this campaign and yet she still won’t acknowledge that folks right here in Pinellas do not support this dysfunctional law,” said Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, on Friday. “Now that Pinellas families know they don’t like the law, Sink is even more determined than ever to protect Obamacare.”
David Bergstein, a spokesman for the DCCC, hit Jolly for campaigning with Ryan.
“The fact that lobbyist David Jolly would flaunt an endorsement from Congressman Paul Ryan – who would end the Medicare guarantee for seniors – shows just how out of touch lobbyist Jolly is with Pinellas’ values,” said Bergstein on Thursday. “Jolly has already lobbied Ryan on behalf of a radical special interest who supports privatizing Social Security – forcing seniors to gamble their retirement in the stock market – and Jolly even praised Ryan’s budget that turns Medicare into a costly voucher program. Tonight was just the latest sign that Pinellas residents simply cannot trust lobbyist David Jolly.”
In the meantime, state and national party officials tried to get their voters out on Friday. Scott Arceneaux of the Florida Democratic Party encouraged supporters to “stop people like the Koch Bros. from buying elections for their candidates” by backing Sink. Reince Preibus from the Republican National Committee (RNC) took to social media, beating the drums for Jolly.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.