Meanwhile, in Florida’s 13th District, Democrats Are in Disarray

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 13 2014 12:37 PM

Meanwhile, in Florida’s 13th District, Democrats Are in Disarray

103769103-florida-democratic-gubernatorial-candidate-alex-sink-as
Alex Sink: She wasn't a dream candidate, alas.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The nation's attention has largely moved away from FL-13, the district that covers Pinellas County and had been trending Democratic for years until Alex Sink managed to lose it in the March 11 special election. Sink, who carried the district in her 2010 run for governor, was nevertheless seen by pundits/people with basic powers of observation to be an uninspiring candidate. Still, Democrats—who had spun reporters on March 12, saying that better November 2014 turnout might elect Sink—were disappointed when she bailed on a rematch.

They moved on. A few weeks ago, after failing to draft a local state rep into the race, they rallied behind Ed Jany, a veteran with an inspiring story but plenty of disadvantages. Like Sink, he lived just outside the district. (Now-Rep. David Jolly used this fact like a hobnailed club, even printing signs that said "Win this one for Pinellas!") Unlike Sink, he was going to run without a party affiliation. Still, Democrats hosanna'd him and immediately marked his race as "emerging," definitely on the map, probably winnable with Charlie Crist's gubernatorial coattails.

Or, you know, not winnable. Reporters quickly punched holes in Jany's resume, pointing out that he claimed to have a degree from a college that was basically a diploma mill. Now comes this from the great Tampa Bay Times reporter Adam Smith.

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It's not like Democrats were on the cusp of taking back the House, but FL-13 is exactly the kind of seat they need to win: It's trending their way, with more and more nonwhite voters. And yet they've probably bungled it away until 2016, when (we assume) Hillary Clinton leads the ticket and a second-term Rep. Jolly has to run ahead of the Rand Paul/Cliven Bundy (just a guess) ticket. 

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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