After losing a special election last month, former Florida chief financial officer Alex Sink has decided not to challenge Rep. David Jolly in a rematch for Congress, leaving Democrats without a viable candidate in this fall's election.
"I am so honored and humbled by the outpouring of support our campaign received, but after reflection with my family I have made a personal decision not to run for the 13th Congressional District seat in the 2014 election," Sink announced in a statement.
"I want to thank every voter, volunteer and donor for their support — we can all be proud of the strong campaign we ran. I look forward to finding new, rewarding avenues where I can continue to effectively serve the people of Florida."
On March 11, Sink lost, by less than two percentage points, to Jolly in a high-stakes special House election following the October death of longtime Republican Rep. C.W. Bill Young. The race turned largely on President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, which Sink supported while Jolly called for its repeal and replacement.
After the loss, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel
lobbied openly for Sink to consider running again in the regularly scheduled election. "I believe if Alex Sink decides to run, she will win in November," Israel said, Roll Call reports. "We will do everything — and I mean everything — to support her in that endeavor."
But with Sink now bowing out, Democrats find themselves without an obvious successor to support in trying to regain control of the swing-voting St. Petersburg area district, which Obama carried in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. Jolly, meanwhile, is likely going to become more formidable as he begins to benefit financially from his established incumbency.
According to the Tampa Bay Times
, the Rev. Manuel Sykes of St. Petersburg, a Democrat, said earlier this week that he was considering running for the seat. The deadline to file for the August primary is May 2.
Nevertheless, Israel, who commended Sink "for her strong campaign," remains confident that the Democrats will provide Jolly with a stiff challenge come November.
"Pinellas residents have voted time and again for common-sense solutions instead of reckless partisanship, which is why we are confident our Democratic nominee can prevail on Election Day," Israel told The Washington Post.
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