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Eric Lynn off to hot start in Democratic CD 13 primary contest

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Until last week, Democrat Eric Lynn had keep an extremely low-profile since announcing this spring that he was aiming to defeat David Jolly in the CD 13 contest in 2016. Sources close to the 36-year-old former Defense Department adviser under Barack Obama said he was initially intent on establishing his bona fides as a serious candidate by concentrating on fundraising.

That strategy is about to pay dividends in the short-term at least, as advisors to Lynn tell Florida Politics that he will soon announce that he has raised over $400,000 since declaring his candidacy in early April. (A story originally reported by the Tampa Bay Times).

“It’s a big number and Eric has obviously been working very hard on it,” says Bill Burton, an adviser to the Lynn campaign. “For context, David Jolly raised $221,000 in the first quarter of the year. So it puts Eric in a very good spot.”

Burton acknowledges that Jolly will certainly increase those numbers when he reports his second-quarter fundraising next month, but also adds that when Lynn officially reports his fundraising totals, he will have raised more than any challenger the first quarter of the year “and more than all but 4 incumbents of either party.”

It’s still unsettled yet on whether Jolly will run for re-election next year. The GOP incumbent is currently assessing his odds of running for the U.S. Senate next year, and is expected to announce his intentions sometime in July.

Meanwhile former Tampa City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern has announced that she will soon be moving to the district to challenge Lynn, and St. Petersburg City Councilwoman Darden Rice will decide if she will enter the primary in a few weeks.

In any case, Lynn now has a substantial head start, and some major Democrats in his camp already – including Kathy Castor, Alex Sink, Rick Kriseman and Pinellas County Commissioners Charlie Justice and Pat Gerard.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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