For the second time in as many days another potential candidate to fill the seat of the late C.W. Bill Young in Congress has dropped out making it look more like there might be uncontested primaries. At this point more people are saying no to running than are saying yes.
Today, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri who had previously hinted that he may run in the special election as a Republican changed his mind. In a brief announcement Gualtieri said he had decided against it, because he wanted to be able to spend more time with his 8-year-old daughter.
This comes a little more than 24 hours after Jessica Ehrlich, who had been running as a Democrat, announced she would be suspending her campaign on Wednesday.
So it is looking more and more like the race will come down to Republican lobbyist David Jolly and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ms. Alex Sink who have both announced they are running for the seat, vacated after Rep. Bill Young death last month.
Many Republicans say that if it were not for Young, a moderate lawmaker and Florida institution who was the longest-serving House Republican at the time of his death, Democrats would have won the seat long ago.
Fred Piccolo, a Republican consultant in the state and former congressional chief of staff told POLITICO this week:
“This is a seat that Democrats should have held for the last 12 years,” said Piccolo. “But they didn’t because of Bill Young.”
Taking place in a swing district at the onset of a midterm election year, the contest is likely to be highly scrutinized and read for clues about what 2014 has in store. Strategists from both parties expect an avalanche of cash to be spent and for the race to become a testing ground for national party messages.
That means St. Petersburg-area voters are likely to hear a lot from Democrats about the dangers of tea party conservatives, and from Republicans about the dangers of Obamacare and the president’s agenda.
Sounds like another fun election coming to the area very soon.
The primary is scheduled for January 14, with the general election on March 11.