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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Jolly campaigns as a waiter



Tens of thousands of votes already have been cast in Pinellas County's congressional race, and it feels like tens of thousands of campaign commercials have aired also. With so much attention in advance of the March 11 special election, it's hard to believe there's a huge number of undecided voters left, Republican candidate David Jolly said this morning.

So Jolly had a more informal kind of campaign event on Tuesday morning. He went to the popular Lenny's restaurant on U.S. 19 in Clearwater and spent an hour serving coffee and greeting customers. Dressed more casually than normal in brown 514 jeans and cowboy boots, he went from table to table and thanked several people for their support. With the election next Tuesday, "it's a  week to say a lot of thank yous," Jolly said. 

Attorneys Lisa Etheridge of Palm Harbor and Stephanie Silk Abdo of Largo are self-described news junkies, so they recognized Jolly right way as he came to their table to greet them.  Both said they don't have anything against Democratic candidate Alex Sink, but consider Jolly the better candidate. "He seems to be very sincere. He is from the area, I think that's very important," Etheridge said.

Jolly also spoke to David Brooks, 63, of Clearwater, who said afterward he hasn't made up his mind yet. He's frustrated with Washington's inability to get things done, in contrast to the days when President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O'Neill worked together, in spite of different philosophies.

Before Jolly got started, server Loraine Bronson helped him with some restaurant lingo. "If you hear '86' that means we're oot of something."  

Jolly's campaign staff said similar events would be coming this week. The race is in Congressional District 13, which stretches from south Pinellas to Dunedin, with portions of southern and downtown St. Petersburg cut out. Jolly, Sink and Libertarian candidate Lucas Overby will be on the ballot.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 11:00am]


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