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Bill Young meets Richard Nixon in the 1950s
Photo from the Young family archives shows Bill Young meeting Richard Nixon in the 1950s
If you somehow haven't come across it yet, you simply must read this amazing Tampa Bay Times piece that brings the late Rep. Bill Young's secret first family out of the shadows. Yes, you read that right. I won't do the article justice by summarizing it, which is why I'm encouraging you so to click through. But in brief, Young had three children with his first wife, Marian, before divorcing her in 1985 to wed his 26-year-old secretary, Beverly, with whom he'd fathered a child while still married to Marian. (Young was 51 at the time.)

Young somehow kept the affair out of the papers (thanks in part to a quiescent media) and ensured Marian's silence with a lifetime alimony payment of $2,000 a month. He also rarely saw the kids he'd raised with Marian and stopped initiating contact in 1986. Young's first family, it seemed, had disappeared and few knew of its existence. But this all came to light at Young's funeral last fall, when Robert, one of his sons by way of Beverly, acknowledged his half-siblings at the end of his eulogy, admitting he didn't even know their surnames but later saying he "didn't think it was fair that they weren't being noticed."

This, my friends, barely begins to tell the story. Among the many eyebrow-raising details, few things come through more powerfully than what a horrible, horrible human being Bev Young is. My skin crawled to read her nasty comments about her husband's children. Terry Young, she said, is only speaking up now because he's "trying to get rid of his guilt for being a horrible son." Ugh.

At the link, at the bottom of the page, there's a terrific gallery of photos provided by Terry, one of which is reproduced at the top of this post, and many of which show happily family scenes. Also fascinating: Marian's divorce attorney was one Charles Ehrlich—the father of Young's 2012 opponent, Jessica Ehrlich. It makes you wonder how Young's secret life and caddish behavior never came to light earlier.

Meanwhile, the Republicans hoping to succeed Young have been busy highlighting their own flaws. Head below the fold to learn exactly how.

For starters, lobbyist David Jolly has been trying to fight back against claims that his connection to the district is tenuous, but without a lot of success:

He stresses that he has lived in Pinellas since 2005. (He owns a 950-square-foot condo in Indian Shores that he and his wife bought in 2005 for $340,000. They also own a 1,650-square-foot home in Washington bought in 2007 for $900,000).

Jolly often notes that he serves on an Indian Shores zoning board (not a heavy lift considering that board has not met in three years).

He says he served as Rep. Young's district director for a year. (Actually, it was more like seven months.)

His cellphone number has a Washington area code. Since registering to vote in Pinellas in 2006, county records show he has voted by absentee ballot 10 times and in person three times.

It makes Jolly look especially feeble since one of the main charges the GOP is eager to trot out against presumptive Democratic nominee Alex Sink is that she's a carpetbagger. Sink, though, is a native of central Florida, which is a hell of a lot closer than D.C. Jolly's also going to have to do better than this when it comes to answering questions about his views on major issues:
"I would have to examine the details of the Ryan plan," said Jolly, clearly not ready to embrace the sweeping changes to entitlement programs envisioned by the Ryan plans that Rep. Young and the overwhelming majority of other House Republicans supported.
Paul Ryan released his infamous budget blueprint four years ago and it's been the subject of endless discussion and criticism in the political arena ever since. I guess Jolly will get to it some day! Lucky for him, though, state Rep. Kathleen Peters, his chief rival for the GOP nomination, get even queasier when asked about tough topics:
Seemingly in contradiction with that reputation for diligence, Peters has at times not offered specific positions related to certain issues she might face in Congress. In several interviews, she has given vague answers on everything from abortion to U.S. House budgets, instead speaking in platitudes about the brokenness of Washington, D.C., and her ability to "get things done."

Peters recently acknowledged she's pro-life but said the issue is not a priority to her campaign. She also said her reluctance to provide concrete opinions on some subjects is easy to explain: She's just not familiar enough with all of them to know precisely what she thinks or how she would vote.

"Although it may sound like I'm being strategic and evasive, I'm not. I'm being honest," she said. "How can I give you an honest, thoughtful answer when it hasn't been vetted by me yet?"

Jolly must be glad, because Peters' cluelessness means she can't attack him over his own intellectual shortcomings. Oh, who am I kidding? Peters is happy to derp off half-cocked:
When a reporter asked Peters during the news conference what evidence tied Jolly to profiting from Obamacare, she directed the media to documents handed out by her staff. The documents contained no information proving that Jolly lobbied for the Affordable Health Care Act or any related policies. [...]

When a reporter asked again what tied Jolly to Obamacare, Peters said, "We would like you to do the follow-up research and find the same thing."

Hah! Outsourcing your research department to the local press. That's a clever trick! All of this has driven our dear compadre Bev Young absolutely batty. (Okay, even battier.) After Peters sent out an email touting the endorsement of her son, also named Bill Young, she flipped because the From: line read "C.W. Bill Young II." Bev called it "dirty politics," claiming "Billy" never went by C.W. I guess she doesn't follow his Twitter account. But even though Bev has endorsed Jolly (her split with Billy prompted her to say she has "no relationship" with her son—something also contradicted by his tweets), she's so pissed, she's sick, sick of 'em all:
"It's embarrassing. I should have run. I should have run. I should have run, because I would not take this. You would be bleeping out everything that I said, but you know what, at least it would be honest."
I'm sure Jolly must have felt great to read that, but hey, Beverly can still run in the regularly scheduled August primary. In the meantime, though, Republican voters will go to the polls in just a week, to select between Jolly, Peters, and a third candidate, tea partier Mark Bircher. According to St. Pete Polls, Jolly's extended his lead to 39-28 over Peters, with Bircher at 18, up from 35-30 in mid-December. That dovetails with the conventional wisdom that Jolly is the favorite, but it's still close enough—and this is just one firm's outlook—that the race is still up in the air.

And if the stumblebum who emerges from Tuesday's primary gets mashed in the March special election, we could very well look forward to a November smackdown between Alex Sink and Bev Young. Now wouldn't that be lovely.

Originally posted to David Nir on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 05:06 PM PST.

Also republished by DKos Florida and Daily Kos.

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