David Jolly Rematch Aside, Alex Sink Helps Gwen Graham and Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Around the State
As she contemplates running against newly elected U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., in a rematch of last month’s special congressional election, former state CFO Alex Sink is repeating much of the same lines she used in her past campaign. Jolly beat Sink by less than 2 percent when the smoke cleared, with Libertarian Lucas Overby, who has also left the door open to running again, taking 5 percent.
Sink, who is being urged by the Democratic leadership to run again against Jolly, went to bat for U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and Democratic congressional candidate Gwen Graham, the daughter of former U.S. Sen. and Gov. Bob Graham, who is looking to defeat U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla, in November.
On Thursday, Sink urged supporters to help out both Wasserman Schultz and Gwen Graham who are being attacked by groups supporting Republicans as “millions of dollars are being spent by shady super-PACs and outside special interests to try to buy this Congress.” During her battle with Jolly, Sink railed at the likes of American Crossroads, a super-PAC with ties to Karl Rove, and other groups backing her Republican foe, even as House Majority PAC, Emily’s List and other Democratic super-PACs supported her and took to the airwaves to run ads attacking Jolly.
“Florida families are counting on Congress to fight to make education more affordable, to protect Social Security and Medicare, and to create opportunities and jobs for hard-working Americans,” Sink insisted to supporters on Thursday. “You know I will always fight for Florida families, and that’s why I’m standing behind my good friends Gwen Graham and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.”
Despite Wasserman Schultz chairing one of America’s two major national parties and Graham having worked for former Gov. Howard Dean, D-Vt., and then-U.S. Sen. John Kerry’s presidential bid in 2004, Sink insisted they could find common ground with the Republicans in Washington. “I know they will go to Washington, reach across the aisle and find common-sense solutions to our most pressing problems,” Sink insisted. “There is just too much at stake right now to elect more right-wing tea party candidates who continue to put politics over problem-solving.”
Graham has tried a similar strategy to Sink’s in recent days, attacking Southerland and insisting she is an outsider to Washington despite her political pedigree and experience. Liberal groups like Emily’s List and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) are ramping up their support for Graham despite her claims she will fight to “bring independent, North Florida values back to Congress”
For his part, Jolly is gearing up for November. This week Nick Hansen, a close adviser to Jolly, sounded the alarm that Democrats at the national level, including U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the DCCC, are pushing Sink to run again.
“It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating David’s Election Night win, but the Democrats are already talking to candidates to try to defeat David this November, and you won’t believe who they are recruiting … Alex Sink,” Hansen wrote Jolly supporters on Tuesday. “That’s right, the Democrat D.C. bosses are at it again, trying to convince Sink to make another run at our Pinellas County seat -- saying, ‘We will do everything -- and I mean everything’ to get Sink elected.
“The Democrats in Washington are ready to spend millions attacking David,” Hansen added.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.