The qualifying period to run for a spot in the U.S. House of Representatives ended Friday, May 2. The list of candidates posted at the Florida Division of Elections website, showed one Republican, one Libertarian, one no party affiliation and one write-in candidate.
The Democrats say they are backing the NPA.
The incumbent, Republican David Jolly of Indian Shores was one the four who qualified. He defeated Democrat Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby of Clearwater in a special election on March 13 to fill seat left vacant after longtime U.S. Representative C.W. Bill Young died Oct. 18, 2013.
Sink announced April 15 that she would not be running in the Nov. 4 election. Overby announced April 21 that he too was bowing out of the race. On May 2, Overby announced he was back in.
“After much deliberation and a number of careful consultations with my family, campaign team and community, I have decided to renew by candidacy for the 13th Congressional District seat,” Overby said in a press release. “Pinellas County deserves real choices on the ballot in November, by running for this office, I can serve my community by helping to ensure a real dialogue and discussion on the issues facing us.”
Overby thanked the Rev. Manuel Sykes, a Democrat, who had considered running against Jolly, for his “support and encouragement.”
Jolly and Overby will be opposed by NPA candidate Ed Jany of Tampa and write-in candidate Michael Stephen Levinson of St. Petersburg.
Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant issued a statement May 2, declaring the party’s support for the NPA candidate.
“Like so many in Pinellas County, (Ret.) Col. Ed Jany is sick and tired of Congressman David Jolly’s dysfunctional Republican Congress that puts special interest ahead of seniors, women, and working families,” Tant said. “Col. Jany’s lifetime of distinguished service to his country and his community - as a Marine, member of the Army Special Forces, and police officer - gives him a unique ability to bring people together to get results. Col. Jany will be a voice for Main Street values and will work to bring commonsense solutions to a place where they’re needed most: the Halls of Congress. The Florida Democratic Party proudly supports Col. Ed Jany.”
Tant explained that Jany, who is a registered Democrat, is forced to run as a NPA candidate due to state law that requires candidates to be registered with a political party 365 days prior to qualifying. Jany changed his political affiliation from Republican to Democrat “several months ago,” Tant said. But it was too late to qualify to run as a Democratic candidate for the District 13 seat.
Republican Gus Bilirakis of Tarpon Springs, who currently serves District 12, which includes the northern sections of Pinellas, qualified unopposed and will keep his seat.
Democrat Kathy Castor of Tampa, who represents District 14, which includes a portion of south St. Petersburg, also qualified without opposition.