When Representative Bill Young passed away last fall, his district seemed like a great pick-up opportunity for Democrats. Young had secured himself easy victories through the immense power of incumbency: he had been in Congress representing the area of FL-13 (under various district numbers) since 1971. Obama won the district 50.1%-48.6% in 2012. Young won that same year 57.6%-42.4%, but Republicans would no longer hold the advantage of incumbency. With a partisan rating of R+1, it was prime for competition.
Democrats chose Alex Sink, the former CFO of the state, as their candidate. You may remember Alex Sink from the 2010 Florida gubernatorial election, where she lost to Rick Scott by just over 1 percent (48.87%-47.72%). Losing to a guy responsible for one of the largest Medicare frauds in history in the state most known for its large population of seniors is pretty embarrassing, but 2010 was certainly not a favorable year to Democrats.
Alex Sink, now running for Congress not the governorship, still wasn't that attractive of a Democrat, especially for energizing the Democratic base. Winning a special election will be inherently difficult for Democrats because many groups in the Democratic base (youth, minorities) tend not to vote in off-year elections, let alone special elections (off-month, off-year). The Democratic candidate was a former Bank of America executive who wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare. IN FLORIDA.
Unsurprisingly then, with an uninspiring candidate and a less-than-stellar turnout operation, the Democrats lost the seat. Republican David Jolly beat Sink 48.43% - 46.55%. Jolly's total was diluted a bit by the presence of a Libertarian candidate who took almost 5% of the vote.
Democrats expected to try again in November with Alex Sink. The conditions would be more favorable than they were in a special election. However, a few weeks ago, Sink decided that she wanted out. And that's understandable given the toll campaigning takes on a person.
However, there wasn't much time before the filing deadline, which was this past week. So Democrats decided to run a Republican, or an ex-Republican to be exact (He just became a Democrat a few months ago). He's running as an independent but would caucus with the Democrats.
If I wanted to write a fake candidate bio to mock the types of "centrist" candidates that DCCC chair Steve Israel always picks in swing districts, I couldn't write anything better than what Ed Jany wrote himself:
Colonel Ed Jany has dedicated his life to serving his country – in the Army Special Forces, as a Police Captain and as a Colonel in the Marine Corps – and he is running for Congress to bring honor, service and tough-minded discipline to the halls of Congress.He doesn't strike me as the type to energize a Democratic voting base, especially in a midterm election.
Ed believes that Congress needs more representatives with the discipline of a Marine, the tenacity of a police officer and the ability of a father to bring people together on common goals. Ed registered as a Democrat when the Republican Party left him – and lost touch with Main Street values by focusing too much on divisive social issues, like women’s health choices, instead of balancing our budget and helping businesses create jobs.
In the military, Ed learned how to bring people together to focus on the mission and get results, and he will bring that same spirit of cooperation to Washington. Ed vows to represent all the residents of Pinellas County— Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and everyone in between. He believes in fiscal responsibility, a strong national defense, and helping businesses grow jobs to help lift up the middle class.
Ed’s 33-year military career began at a young age, when he earned a scholarship to attend a military high school and enlisted in the Army at age 17. Among his many posts, Ed served in the Special Forces, where he earned his Green Beret, and the Marine Corps Reconnaissance and Special Operations. Ed served as Commanding Officer for the Anti-Terrorism Battalion and worked for Special Operations Command Central at MacDill Air Force Base. He is a dedicated service member who was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.
In addition to his military service, Ed also spent much of his life in law enforcement, beginning in college when he walked a foot beat to help pay for school. In 1989, while serving in an Army Reserve Special Forces unit, he became a full-time police officer with the Orlando Police Department. While serving as a police officer, Ed was shot in the line of duty in 2003, but he did not allow his injury to hold him back. Ten weeks after being shot, he completed the Marine Corps physical fitness test and earned a first-class score. He earned numerous awards, including a Police Medal of Valor.
Ed currently gives back to the community as a volunteer police officer with the Tampa Police Department and also advises other law enforcement agencies and defense organizations about interagency cooperation.
As a first generation immigrant, Ed has experienced firsthand the American Dream, and has spent his entire life protecting the country that gave so much to him and his family. Ed firmly believes that America needs a Congress that will work hard for them.
Ed lives with his wife Luciana, and he has two young daughters: Isabella, 13, and Sophia, 10.