Darryl Paulson, in a column for Context Florida, explores the changing playing fields in Bay Area politics following Congressman Bill Young’s announced retirement.
Paulson shares that Republicans have held Young’s congressional seat since the 1954 defeat of Democrat Courtney Campbell. Yet in three out of the past four presidential elections, voters in Young’s district narrowly favored the Democratic candidate.
Paulson mentions two new names in the Democratic field: Peter Wallace, a St. Pete attorney and former Democratic Speaker of the House. While Wallace has not held office in over 15 years, he is being urged to run. On the Republican side, Paulson mentions David Jolly, who he suggests may be the “sleeper” candidate on the right. Jolly was a former aide to Young and had planned to run for the seat in 2010 until Young changed his mind and stayed put. Jolly is a well-connected Republican consultant.
Finally, Paulson suggests that Charlie Crist may “prefer a House seat from Pinellas versus a bloody and expensive campaign against Rick Scott.” That decision would be a game-changer on top of game-changer, no doubt. Crist on Thursday said such a run is “not happening.”