The day that was in the CD 13 special election

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While much of the political excitement Saturday centered on Charlie Crist’s final stop on his nine-city book tour/campaign run in St. Petersburg, the race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District intensified.

Unfortunately, most of the intensity was over the airwaves (and not in person).

Here is the day that was in the special election in CD 13:

Bill Nelson weighs in – In an email money pitch out Saturday, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson goes to bat for Alex Sink: “The Koch brothers, Karl Rove and some of the other right-wing super PACs have now dumped $2.8 million against Alex Sink and for their own Republican tea party candidate …”

“If you didn’t know it,” Nelson adds, “Alex Sink happens to be a good friend of mine. I’ve known her for a long time — and I can tell you she’s really tough. I can tell you: She’ll fight for you in Congress.”

Welcome to the party, Bill.

Boots on the ground — NBC News picked up Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith’s prognostication on early mail-in ballot numbers, a precarious balance showing that David Jolly may be in trouble. The “significant turnout” by GOP voters hasn’t yet materialized, and the slight Republican lead is in Sink’s favor. “Make no mistake: This is a competitive race,” the NBC story goes, “and Democratic candidate Alex Sink has been in this position before only to lose a winnable race.” Competitive? Try watching 10 minutes of Pinellas cable TV, complete with relentless attack ads, without wanting to scream (or hit the liquor cabinet). It’s gone way past “competitive.”

Battle for air supremacy — Speaking of “competitive,” the battle for CD 13 is not on a debate stage or in-person events; the real war is waged with negative ads. “The David Jolly campaign canceled appearances this week at two forums it previously committed to — in one case bowing out on the day of the event, according to organizers,” writes Curtis Krueger of the Tampa Bay Times. Sink has been doing the same thing. What remains for voters – with few exceptions — is what they see over the tube. And that is not saying much.

Bill Young lives on — Nearly 900 of 3,800 military personnel at MacDill Air Force Base could lose positions as the Air Force makes significant cuts, reports Richard Danielson of the Tampa Bay Times. But the base may not face the possibility of closure, as is had in the 1990s, because of more than $1 billion in construction since the terrorist attacks in 2001, thanks to the efforts of the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young. And MacDill is not even in his district (right, David Jolly?) One more reason why Young will be sorely missed in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.