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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bill Young: 'I had actually decided I was going to retire'



Imagine how this would have changed underdog Democrat Charlie Justice's campaign path. In a conference call with the Times editorial board Wednesday, U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young said last year he made a different career choice instead of running for a 21st term.

"I had actually decided I was going to retire," he said. The he started reading attacks by Justice on blogs, comparing him to Al Capone and linking him to Jack Abramoff. "When I started hearing all the accusastions, the lies, the phoniness about and and my family ... I was offended."

So he decided to run again. Young said he had an offer for a "plush job" and could have made good money for a couple of years, but decided to seek another term (though Republicans made no small push too, fearing an open seat).

Young repeated a line: "If you guys want me to leave, be nice to me."

Still, the lack of public appearances by Young, who has been addled by back surgery and then a setback after being dropped, has been noticeable, even for a guy who is a relatively low-profile politician. Most candidates also make personal appearances in the Times editorial board offices, and Young said last week he hoped to do so. But he told the Times on Wednesday he still needs a cane to walk, after first being in a wheelchair and then needing a walker.

"This has clearly taken a little bit longer than expected," Young said.

Asked if he would seek another term if he wins Nov. 2, Young said, "You know, I can't give you an answer to that," before noting that in his long public career "I have done little to take care of my family."

And his answers left little sense that he'll make many, if any, public appearances besides going "out to dinner" before the election.

"My appearances have been basically therapy," he said, noting efforts to be able to walk again and "lead a normal life."

He initially said a rally was "possible," then noted that he has picked up spending on campaign commercials and continued other work-related activities, such as speaking with leading federal officials. Now, he said, he might not buy more TV advertising. That seemed to discount the need for any rally.



[Last modified: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 4:44pm]


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