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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

David Jolly's endorsement from Heaven; Alex Sink tries to go local



C.W. Bill Young represented his Pinellas County district for nearly 43 years until his death three weeks ago, so it's no wonder people tend to refer to congressional District 13 as "Bill Young's seat."

But as a nationally watched campaign gets under way to succeed the Indian Shores Republican, voters may have to ask themselves if any congressman, no matter how beloved, can bequeath a seat. Because it seems that, from heaven above, Young has endorsed his former aide and personal attorney, lobbyist David Jolly.

On his deathbed, Rep. Young asked Jolly to run for his seat, Beverly Young, the congressman's widow, said at Jolly's campaign kickoff last week.

"This was Bill's choice," said Mrs. Young, who initially had not ruled out running herself.

"This is what Bill wanted, and this is what I want," she said. "Bill said (to Jolly), 'I have a legacy and I have a lot of things that I'd like to finish and I need somebody that understands, that knows how I feel, that has the passion, who knows how to get it done.' … He said, 'I really need you to do it. I need you to continue what Beverly and I have done for the troops.' "

Jolly told Buzz that Young told him "several times" that he hoped Jolly would succeed him in Congress, which is a little awkward considering Young's son, Bill Young II, strongly considered running for the seat. Jolly said Young's son was not present during those conversations, and Bill Young II declined to discuss that.

The younger Young also declined to appear at Jolly's campaign rally, along with his mother and brother Patrick Young.

"My dad didn't believe in getting involved in primaries and it served him well for 53 years. At this point that is my position," said Bill Young II, who later tweeted that he regretted that former county Commissioner Neil Brickfield decided against challenging Jolly for the nomination.

Jolly makes it clear that he will do all he can to remind voters that Democratic candidate Alex Sink has never lived in Pinellas County. It remains to be seen how potent the carpetbagger criticism will be once Sink moves from eastern Hillsborough to Feather Sound, but in a fundraising pitch Sink could hardly have sounded more defensive about the question:

"What a start! Everywhere we go in Pinellas, from Pete and Shorty's restaurant to picnics in John Taylor Park, folks are saying one thing: they're with Alex," gushed an email from Sink last week. You can practically hear the voters reacting now: "Gee whiz, Alex mentioned a random restaurant and park in Pinellas County! She really is a local!"

As an aside, we also wonder if Sink knew she was plugging a restaurant started by the creators of the restaurant chain Hooters, another one of Pinellas County's gifts to American culture.

[Last modified: Sunday, November 10, 2013 4:43pm]


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