National Parties Weigh in Big in CD 13, with Clinton, Rove
Around the State
With less than a week to go until the election, candidates running in Pinellas County for the congressional seat opened by the death of longtime U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., made their final pitches this week, with a little help from their new famous friends.
Republican David Jolly has Karl Rove, former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff during much of the George W. Bush administration, blanketing the airwaves on his behalf.
And in robocalls released this week, former President Bill Clinton stressed former state CFO Alex Sink's ability to reach out across the aisle. Sink is the Democratic candidate.
"On March 11th, Pinellas County voters can send a proven leader to Congress, someone who will work across the aisle to get things done,” Clinton says in the call. “That leader is Alex Sink. As Florida's chief financial officer, Alex brought Republicans and Democrats together to find common-sense solutions to some of the state's most pressing problems."
Sink also played up that theme in a new television commercial released on Wednesday as she looks to pick up the seat for the Democrats.
Sink stays positive in the new ad, playing up her ties to the area, insisting she will listen to Pinellas County residents and work to bring Democrats and Republicans together.
But Sink’s Republican rival David Jolly’s team looked to call into question the Democrat’s ties to the area. Sink moved from Hillsborough County to Pinellas County after Young died.
“As this campaign comes to a close, the voters are asking themselves one final, and important, question,” insisted Nick Hansen, a senior adviser to Jolly, on Tuesday. “Who will truly represent Pinellas County in Congress? Who understands the people here, and will know how best to vote in their behalf?
“David Jolly has spent his career working on behalf of the people of Pinellas County,” Hansen added. “He advanced our interest on behalf of Bill Young, and has worked with numerous civic and community leadership roles right here in Pinellas County. Alex Sink moved here five months ago, and is currently renting her condo. This is her only real tie to the community.”
While Sink accentuates the positive in the new TV ad, she is relying on an unlikely attack dog this week in Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, the entertainer best known for his role in the '50s revival band Sha Na Na. Bauman recorded a robocall for the Sink campaign in which he attacks Jolly.
“You know, I love the music of the '50s, but that does not mean I want to go back to a time before Medicare,” Bauman says in the call. “Alex is running on a pledge to protect and preserve Medicare, but her opponent -- Washington lobbyist David Jolly -- has praised a plan that would turn Medicare into a costly voucher program. This is going to be a very close election so we are encouraging you to vote today.
“If you are a senior, the choice is clear,” Bauman continues. “Bom-ba-ba-bom-ba-ba-bom-ba-ba-bom, Dang-dang-dang-dang ding-a-dong-ding … vote for Alex Sink."
Sink is also relying on more conventional political endorsements including St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman who endorsed his fellow Democrat on Monday.
“I am proud to support Alex Sink because I know she will bring the bipartisan, results-oriented values she’s practiced all her life to Washington and finally get Congress focused on solving problems that matter,” said Rick Kriseman. “At City Hall, we know firsthand that the challenges facing our community are not partisan issues – that’s why we need a leader like Alex Sink who will bring Republicans, Democrats and independents together to tackle our most pressing problems, and I know we can trust Alex to take the voices of every Pinellas resident to Washington.”
Sink’s team continues to warn supporters that outside groups are throwing their weight around in the contest. On Tuesday, emails from the Sink camp warned that “right-wing outside groups continue to pour unprecedented amounts of cash onto the Pinellas airwaves” and an email under Sink’s name also played up that theme.
“Karl Rove and five outside groups are pounding the Pinellas airwaves in support of my opponent, Washington lobbyist David Jolly,” Sink wrote. “One of them just bought another $182,000 on TV to try to buy this election in the final moments. I’m not surprised. These groups have been after me since the day I announced! What’s important is that we keep our focus and continue to spread our message to every last Pinellas voter.”
But outside groups continue to showcase their support of Sink. Liberal Friends of Democracy PAC launched a radio ad attacking Jolly on Social Security over the weekend and will be running it until the election on Tuesday.
In the meantime, Jolly continues to get support from Republicans at the national level. On Wednesday, Reince Preibus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), took to Twitter asking Republicans to remind contacts in Pinellas County to vote.
Libertarian Lucas Overby also made his final pitch to voters this week, showcasing the support of former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico who was their party’s presidential candidate in 2012. On Monday, Overby called for less government intervention in the economy.
“Regulations and taxes are crushing the middle class,” Overby insisted. “We don’t need more stimulus spending from the government, we need less taxes, less restriction, and more room for small business to breath. The best thing I can do as a congressman to help bring back small business and the middle class is keep the government at bay and let American businesses do what they do best, build our economy.”
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.