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Politics

Pinellas County Congressional Candidates Turn to Attack Ads

January 30, 2014 - 6:00pm

With more than a month to go in a congressional election, attack ads are coming to Pinellas County airwaves as the candidates and their supporters duke it out.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) launched a new ad on Friday attacking former state CFO Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate in the special election for the congressional seat left vacant by the death of U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla. Sink takes on Republican David Jolly and Libertarian Lucas Overby in the March 11 special election.

Can we trust Alex Sink in Washington? the narrator of the ad asks. As Floridas CFO, Sink spent $400,000 of taxpayer money to jet around in a state-owned plane. She used the taxpayer-funded plane so she could get to a vacation in the Bahamas. And even used the plane to attend political campaign events. Alex Sink: Taxpayer-funded jets for her, higher taxes for you.

Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, also bashed Sink. Alex Sinks record of wasting Florida taxpayers money as CFO is very troubling, Prill said. If we cant trust her to do the right thing here in Florida, how can we trust her in Washington with Nancy Pelosi?

In the meantime, Democrats are ramping up their own attacks on Jolly. On Friday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) launched an ad hitting Jollys background in Washington as an aide to Young and as a lobbyist.

David Jolly spent years working with Washington special interests, the narrator of the ad says. "Working in Congress, then cashing out as a lobbyist to sell his influence. Lobbying to keep tax loopholes benefiting big oil. Helping special interests that received millions in pork-barrel spending. So little gets done for us, while the special interests have lobbyists like David Jolly. Hes whats wrong with Washington.

Closer to home, Democrats hit Jolly for wanting to repeal President Barack Obamas federal health-care law. The Florida Democratic Party delivered doughnut holes to Jollys office on Friday, claiming Jollys call for the health care law to be repealed would reopen the drug doughnut hole for Medicare, costing seniors.

Washington lobbyist David Jollys support for radical repeal of the Affordable Care Act would take seniors back to the days of the Medicare doughnut hole forcing seniors to pay more for their medicine, said Alison Morano, the vice chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party. Lobbyist Jolly has already made it clear that he wants to balance our budget on the backs of Pinellas seniors by lobbying for an extreme group that supports privatizing Social Security and praising the Ryan budget that turns Medicare into a costly voucher program. But these doughnut holes are an important reminder that Pinellas seniors just cant trust Washington lobbyist David Jolly after all, what Washington lobbyist can resist a sweet deal?

In the meantime, there will be more ads appearing in Pinellas County. Conservative group American Action Network announced on Thursday it will spend $500,000, including more than $350,000 in television ads, direct mail and online ads, to torpedo Sink.

With a mess of a record supporting Obamacare and tax hikes and a past of gross financial mismanagement, Florida families simply cant trust Alex Sink in Washington, said Emily Davis, a spokeswoman for American Action Network. This is a tossup race and we see an opportunity for victory in a must-win election for Nancy Pelosi and her liberal lieutenants.

American Action Network defines itself as an 'action tank' that creates, encourages and promotes center-right policies based on the principles of freedom, limited government, American exceptionalism, and strong national security. The American Action Network's primary goal is "to put our center-right ideas into action by engaging the hearts and minds of the American people and spurring them into action to advance our center-right policy agenda. Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., chairs American Action Network.

American Crossroads, a super-PAC tied to Republican political operative Karl Rove, is also going to be gearing up against Sink in the days to come. Sink has the support of her sides super-PACs and advocacy groups including Emilys List and House Majority PAC.


Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

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