Pinellas County Congressional Race Shifts to General Election Mode
Around the State
The battle for an open congressional seat moved to general election mode as outside groups and the candidates ready for March's general election.
On Wednesday, former state CFO Alex Sink released her first television commercial for the special election for an open congressional seat in Pinellas County. Sink, the Democrat in the race, will take on Republican David Jolly and Libertarian Lucas Overby in the March 11 election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of longtime U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla.
The ad features Kester Sink, the candidate’s father, engaging in banter with his daughter who insists she can work together with Republicans and Democrats on the issues, including flood insurance.
While Sink looks to portray herself as an outsider to Washington, Republicans continued to try to link her to President Barack Obama’s health care law and to prominent liberal Democrats.
Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), noted that groups like Emily’s List and House Majority PAC, a prominent Democratic super-PAC, are clearly going all out for Sink.
“Alex Sink is so desperate to distract from her support for Obamacare that she is dumping her millions on TV in the hope that Pinellas County voters will just forget,” Prill said on Wednesday after the commercial was released. “There is no doubt Sink and her Washington super-PAC cronies can buy a lot of fancy TV ads, but unless they can buy a time machine, they can’t change the fact that Sink is a big supporter of a health care system that is hurting Florida families and seniors. At the end of the day, that’s what this election is about.”
Emily’s List, a PAC supporting pro-choice Democratic women running for office, doubled down on their support of Sink on Tuesday night after Jolly easily bested state Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-St. Petersburg, and retired Marines Gen. Mark Bircher in the Republican primary.
“Alex Sink is a powerhouse candidate running a strong campaign with the help and support of voters who are excited about her vision and leadership,” said Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily’s List. Schriock slammed Jolly as someone “who embodies the worst of Washington.”
“We look forward to this match-up which will be a clear contrast between David Jolly’s agenda for himself and Alex’s vision for a fair shot for all Florida families,” Schriock insisted.
But Jolly will clearly get the support of the NRCC. U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., the chairman of the NRCC, praised the new nominee on Tuesday night after the primary results rolled in.
“Pinellas County voters have spoken and congratulations are in order for David Jolly on his victory this evening in the Republican primary contest,” Walden said before going on the attack against Sink. “Pinellas County families will quickly learn about Alex Sink’s costly record as chief financial officer of Florida, where under her watch the state’s pension fund lost $27 billion in value. Whether it is her support of Obamacare or her dismal record of wasting money in Florida, Pinellas voters will know that Alex Sink is a risk they can’t afford in Congress. Over the coming months, I know David will campaign tirelessly to grow jobs in Pinellas County, fix our nation’s economy and fight to stop Obamacare from hurting the people of the 13th District.”
On Wednesday, Jolly released his own TV ad, introducing himself to voters outside of the GOP primary.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.