The special election in Florida’s 13th District to replace the late Republican Rep. Bill Young has been heralded as a bellwether for the mood of the country leading up to the November elections: how voters feel about Obama, about the president, about the direction of the country.
But for Republican candidate David Jolly, the election comes down to one simple thing: his opponent, Democrat Alex Sink, is “wrong on the issues.”
“They’re wrong on Obamacare, they’re wrong on the view of government, they’re wrong on taxes, they’re wrong on regulations for small businesses,” Jolly told The Daily Caller in an interview Wednesday.
“We win this race on the issues, and they know it,” he said.
Jolly is a former Young aide turned lobbyist. His opponent, Alex Sink, is the former Chief Financial Officer of Florida, who in 2010 lost to now-Gov. Rick Scott in by a single percentage point. Sink and Jolly will face off in a March 11 special election.
Speaking about the race, Jolly paints a picture contrasting a candidate who sees this as a local race to represent Pinellas County, and a candidate who is more focused on national interests.
“For me, this is a local race; for her it’s a national race,” he said. “She moved in here at the behest of Nancy Pelosi and the Washington Democrats … ultimately this is about whether somebody from our district represents our district or whether somebody from out of town represents the interests of Washington, D.C.”
Jolly has his own ties with Washington, having spent part of the past 20 years working as an aide to Young, and then as a lobbyist.
That career choice has provided Jolly’s opponents with an easy attack line. But Jolly maintains that even if he spent some time in Washington, D.C., he was advocating on behalf of Pinellas County, which makes up the 13th District. And, he points out, at least he is from and has lived in the district for some time – unlike Sink, who moved there shortly before announcing her congressional bid.
“My work for 20 years has been on behalf of this county,” Jolly said, citing his efforts to help a local business to send technology to Iraq that could detect roadside bombs, and working on “medical research initiatives to promote wound healing for amputees and wounded warriors.”
He also points to work he did with Mark Lunsford, a Florida man whose nine-year old daughter was murdered by a sex predator in 2005.
“He asked for my help working to secure funding for the U.S. Marshal Service to go after sex predators,” Jolly said. “We did that and did it successfully.”
“I’d like to see Alex Sink look Mark Lunsford in the eye and tell him his work a lobbyist was somehow a bad thing,” he said.