The emergence of a salacious story about a secret family fathered by the late Florida Rep. Bill Young is raising Republican concerns about the outcome of the Jan. 14 primary election for the former legislator's seat, The Hill reports.
The dramatic story, published Saturday in the Tampa Bay Times,
told of three children, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren resulting from Young's marriage to Marian Ford. The politician kept the existence of his first family in the shadows after his marriage to Beverly Young.
The story threatens not only to damage Young's legacy but also to take away votes from David Jolly, the former congressman's handpicked choice, who faces state Rep. Kathleen Peters on the Republican primary ticket. Florida's former chief financial officer, Alex Sink, tops the Democratic ticket.
"That's a family issue," Jolly told The Hill. "It's not an issue for my campaign. I am proud to have the endorsement of a lot of people in this race."
Jolly, a lobbyist and former staff member for Young, has been endorsed by Beverly Young but not by Bill Young Jr., who is supporting Peters. The loggerheads led to more drama.
"You have hurt me beyond belief," the widow reportedly told her son.
Democrats are running with the drama, and see it as a way to increase their chances of taking the seat in March's special election.
"The expensive, divisive primary slugfest between Washington lobbyist David Jolly and Tallahassee Rep. Kathleen Peters is turning off the independent swing voters who want to see an end to politics as usual," said David Bergstein, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Jolly has raised double the amount of campaign funds as Peters, who has $18,000 remaining in her coffers, the Hill reports.
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