Sink’s decision to bow out of the 13th District race leaves Democrats scrambling for a last-minute candidate
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (CFP) — Less than three weeks before Florida’s filing deadline, Democrat Alex Sink has announced that she won’t seek a rematch with Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly in the state’s 13th U.S. House District, leaving her party scrambling to find a new candidate.
Jolly narrowly defeated Sink in a March special election for the St. Petersburg-based seat, despite an all-out effort on her behalf by national Democratic officials.
“After reflection with my family, I have made a personal decision not to run,” Sink said in a statement. “I remain totally convinced that a Democrat can and will win this congressional seat in the fall, and I look forward to helping the Democratic nominee.”
Although Republicans hold an edge in party registration in the 13th District, it is one of just three GOP-held congressional districts in the South that President Barack Obama carried in 2012, making it a top Democratic target. The seat became vacant when Republican U.S. Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young, who held it for more than 42 years, died last October.
Jolly, 41, a former Washington lobbyist and Young aide, is seeking a full term in November. The filing deadline for Democrats who want to run against Jolly is May 2.
Sink, 65, Florida’s former chief financial officer, was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2010, narrowly losing to Gov. Rick Scott. Although she didn’t live in the district, she was recruited to run by national party officials. Once she got into the race, other Democrats in Pinellas County stepped aside.
Outside Democratic and Republican groups poured more than $9 million into the special election, which was seen as a bellweather of their political prospects heading into November’s mid-term election.
The main fault line in the campaign was Obamacare, which Sink embraced and Jolly opposed.