Unless something on the scale of an Act of God occurs between now and Tuesday, David Jolly will win the Republican primary in the special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.
One poll has Jolly up by six over his next closest opponent, while another survey shows him leading the field by eleven points. With more than 28,000 ballots already cast by early voters, Jolly is all but home free.
That’s why it was completely unnecessary, if not downright stupid, for Jolly’s campaign to send out this last-minute mailer.
For the most part, the mailer is standard fare: David Jolly good, Kathleen Peters bad, rinse, wash, repeat.
What stands out is the text on the top right of the mailer, under the bullet “Liberal Endorsements.”
“Endorsed by the liberal Tampa Bay Times and State Senator Jack Latvala,” reads the mailer.
Say what you will about ol’ Jack Latvala, but “liberal” he is not. Does he obstruct the goals of the most conservative elements in the Florida Senate? Certainly. But that doesn’t make him a liberal, that makes him a common sense conservative not ready to gut police and firefighter pensions or privatize the state’s prison system, among other issues.
Furthermore, there may not be a more forceful advocate among Tampa Bay elected officials for Republican Governor Rick Scott than Latvala. I imagine if Latvala wanted to be Scott’s Lieutenant Governor, the job would be his.
Now, Latvala has vocally opposed Jolly’s candidacy, so it’s understandable where this mailer’s shot at Latvala originates.
But what does Jolly’s campaign hope to gain by antagonizing Latvala, especially by describing him as something he is not? Call him a bully, call him an obstructionist, call him any number of things, but describing Latvala as a liberal is unnecessarily antagonistic.
Come Wednesday, once Jolly has his party’s nomination secure and the weight of the entire national Democratic Party begins to come bearing down on him, he will need every ally he can attract to his banner. That includes Jack Latvala.
But after this mailer, would it surprise anyone if Latvala sat on his hands?