New feature: The day that was in the special election for CD 13

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Editor’s note: Tonight, SaintPetersBlog is launching a new, semi-regular feature that will run during the duration of the special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. It is simply a smart wrap of the day’s events in this battleground seat. If you think a story or tweet or ad should be included in our round-up, email me at

Today in the red-hot race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District:

A “battle of the polls” starts with the release of a number of competing surveys — two of three saying Democrat Alex Sink is ahead of Republican David Jolly. A Tampa Bay Times poll has Sink leading 42-35 percent, while StPetePolls (commissioned by SaintPetersBlog) has the advantage down to only two points. Later in the day, Saint Leo University Polling Institute announced Sink’s lead at 9 points — 46 to 37 percent — with Libertarian Lucas Overby getting 12 percent, clearly siphoning off Jolly’s support in a survey that was “aggressively screened” for likely voters.

File this under “all white Congressional candidates look alike.” Speaking of Overby, the Saint Leo University press release, in announcing the CD 13 poll today —  mysteriously no longer available online — has pollster Frank Orlando referring to the Libertarian as “David Overby.” In an overzealous cut-and-paste, the Tampa Bay Times’ Adam Smith lifted the quote wholesale in The Buzz blog. Thanks go to eagle-eyed Twitter follower@SOFL4Johnson (a South Florida Gary Johnson fan) for catching the typo.

Last year, Alex Sink “buried” David Jolly in fundraising, says the blog. But that was last year. Outside groups are now taking center stage in the race, by spending $1.1 million in the last nine days alone. Outside spending reports, filed more frequently, show they have spent $3.5 million in the race, with $2.6 million helping Jolly, writes Russ Choma of OpenSecrets.

If there is one thing you don’t do in Pinellas County politics, it is badmouth Social Security. David Jolly’s “benefactor” and campaign finance co-chair, James MacDougald, did just that. In an email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee millionaire MacDougald (in his book Unsustainable) touched the Pinellas County CD 13 “third rail” — calling the Social Security Trust Fund a “Ponzi-Scheme.” Not a smart move in the region once called “God’s waiting room.”

News Talk Florida got some mileage today with an interesting quote from Jolly at Tuesday’s Candidate Forum at St. Petersburg Community Church. Jolly was talking about Overby, when he claimed Overby is “smarter than me.” No wonder Overby is rising in the polls.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.