Ruth: Meet the Bickersons, David Jolly and Beverly Young

Published May 23, 2014

These ought to be the best of times for U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-If She Calls I'm Not In.

After prevailing in a hard-fought battle with Democrat Alex Sink to succeed the late C.W. Bill Young, Jolly finally was installed as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. And things got even better.

Because the leadership of the Pinellas County Democratic Party displayed all the organizational skills of pinata-whacking 4-year-olds who were unable to field a candidate, Jolly is virtually assured re-election, unless Libertarian Lucas Overby suddenly catches fire.

Considering that there are about 225,000 registered Democrats in Pinellas County and party chairman Mark Hanisee couldn't persuade any of them to raise their hand to take on Jolly, this is about as close as you can get to a political party masquerading as a Quaker prayer service.

So you would think Jolly would be happier than Vladimir Putin salivating over a plateful of chicken Kiev. Instead, the newly minted congressman has found himself co-starring in a District 13 version of The Bickersons. For Jolly has offended his predecessor's wife, Beverly Young, and She Who Must Be Dismayed is not amused.

The slow descent from supporting Jolly to regarding him as the Simon Legree of the Beltway began during the special election campaign. After initially endorsing Jolly and singing his praises as the only logical successor to her husband, the Widow Young's enthusiasm began to wane for reasons that aren't entirely clear. But it was fairly obvious that by the time Election Day rolled around Beverly Young would have endorsed Winter the dolphin over Jolly.

Once Jolly assumed office the relationship began to really sour into something more closely resembling "Who's Afraid of Beverly Young?" David Jolly is.

One of the first public signs Jolly and Young were getting along about as well as Henry VIII and a spouse to be named later occurred on Veterans Day, when the congressman avoided an appearance where he was supposed to be the keynote speaker, because she would also be in attendance.

Beverly Young's ire grew after the congressman replaced several of her late husband's longtime staffers. These are inherently political jobs, and Jolly is perfectly within his rights to hire his own people. He shouldn't be expected to simply be a vessel channeling Bill Young after Young went off to that earmark in the sky.

With Bill Young's passing, so, too, did Beverly Young's clout as the wife of a powerful Washington figure begin to wane. That has to hurt. But that's life. It's death, too.

The rift between the two has become so uncomfortable that the normally unflappable Jolly recently sent Beverly Young an email asking her to refrain from contacting him unless she should get really, really sick. Now there's some constituent service for you.

Shortly after Bill Young died there was some speculation that Beverly Young might try to succeed her husband. It's too late for Mrs. Young to enter the fray in 2014. But 2016 could be another matter altogether. What fun.

This could be Pinellas County's version of Lady Macbeth takes on Don Draper.