The special election to replace the late Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., is getting its first big injection of outside money just days into the contest.
Women Vote!, the independent expenditure arm of Democratic women’s group EMILY’s List, will soon begin a direct-mail program targeting 46,000 voters in Florida’s 13th District, where EMILY’s List-endorsed Democrat Alex Sink and Republican David Jolly are battling over a bellwether district. The six-figure program is divided in two, with one set of mailers seeking to generate votes from independent senior women and a second set seeking to persuade and motivate both women and men who tend to vote in general elections but not in primaries.
The district has one of the biggest senior populations in the country, with nearly 23 percent of residents 65 or older.
Targeted households will receive seven mail pieces, timed differently depending on whether the voters will receive mail ballots. Voters will start getting absentee ballots in early February, while the special election is scheduled for March 11. Jolly, a former Young staffer who has worked as a lobbyist since leaving the Hill, just captured the Republican nomination Tuesday. Sink was unopposed for the Democratic nod.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is also spending in the district Thursday, in a less traditional manner: It released a Web video ad backed by a “six-figure” expenditure that hammered Sink over her spending as Florida’s chief financial officer. “It’s troubling that Alex Sink spent over $400,000 of Florida families’ money to jet around in a taxpayer-funded plane — even using it for personal use and for political campaign events,” said NRCC spokeswoman Katie Prill in a statement.
Outside spending figures to be critical in the closely divided district, which President Obama carried narrowly in the 2012 election. Some Republican groups have signaled they may sit the race out, while several Democratic ones, including EMILY’s List, have indicated that they expect to be fully involved. EMILY’s List endorsed Sink almost immediately after she got into the race. “There is no question for the women and working families of Pinellas: Alex Sink will put them first,” EMILY’s List spokeswoman Marcy Stech said in a statement. “David Jolly embodies the worst of Washington and is only in it for himself.”
That potential Democratic outside-spending advantage is unpredictable given the large amounts of money a single group can inject at a moment’s notice, but it is one reason Sink has been considered a favorite in the race. The next steps on both sides will clarify those predictions further. In the absence of reliable public polling, third-party expenditures may provide one of the best clues into how Republicans view Jolly’s chances.
What We're Following See More »
An estimated $15.6 billion, "according to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report."
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) “is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and … the Justice Department” for potentially improper contributions to his 2013 campaign, including while he was a Clinton Global Initiative board member. ... Among the McAuliffe donations that drew the interest of the investigators was $120,000 from” former Chinese legislator Wang Wenliang. “U.S. election law prohibits foreign nationals from donating to … elections. … But Wang holds U.S. permanent resident status.”
"Donald Trump is reviving some of the ugliest political chapters of the 1990s with escalating personal attacks on Bill Clinton's character, part of a concerted effort to smother Hillary Clinton 's campaign message with the weight of decades of controversy. Trump's latest shot came Monday when he released an incendiary Instagram video that includes the voices of two women who accused the former president of sexual assault, underscoring the presumptive Republican nominee's willingness to go far beyond political norms in his critique of his likely Democratic rival. ...In one recent interview, Trump said another topic of potential concern is the suicide of former White House aide Vincent Foster, which remains the focus of intense and far-fetched conspiracy theories on the Internet."
"The head of security for the Transportation Security Administration, Kelly Hoggan, has been removed from his position after a hearing about the agency's management, the House Oversight Committee says." Deputy assistant administrator Darby LaJoye will take over for Hoggan on a temporary basis.
"Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has appointed a veteran legal insider with strong personal ties to the Obama administration to serve as his special adviser focused exclusively on fixing the Washington region’s troubled Metro system. Kathryn Thomson, who was expected to leave her job as the Department of Transportation’s top lawyer, instead will stay on as Foxx’s special adviser on Metro oversight." She'll start this week.