The Rev. Manuel Sykes says he intends to speak with Alex Sink and other prominent Democrats within the next 24 hours before he decides whether or not to jump into the CD13 Democratic primary election. "I am interested, but I certainly want to make a wise decision," he told CL on Wednesday morning. He says he hopes to have consulted with those Democratic voices by tonight, and be ready to make a decision before the end of this week. Among those voices include Darryl Rouson, Ken Welch and Largo Mayor Pat Gerard."I don't believe in divisiveness. But if I do run, it'll be because in my heart it's because what I believe I need to do."
Sykes, the head of the St. Petersburg chapter of the NAACP, no longer lives in the district after it was redrawn by the Legislature last year. He currently resides on 61st Avenue South, and already appears sensitive to the charge that he might be running in a district that he isn''t currently living in, calling it a "travesty." He says that if he does decide to run, he already has nailed down two possible locations to move to that are inside the confines of the CD13 seat, which now resides from Dunedin south to Tierra Verde, with parts of downtown and south St. Pete.
"The issues that we're dealing with - that's one of them, " he says about the residency requirement, which is an issue that Sink had to deal with, having lived much further away in Hillsborough County before moving to Feather Sound during the campaign. "Ultimately, it's like a poll tax - you're telling me instead of having to pay to vote, now I've got to what?"
Sykes isn't the only Democrat to contemplate a run now that Sink has declared herself out of a rematch with Republican David Jolly this November.
Attorney Jessica Ehrlich, who lost to the late C.W. Bill Young (but finished better than virtually any other Democrat ever did in over 40 years of elections) in 2012, is also considering another run at the race. Although she did not return CL's request for comment on Tuesday, she did email reporter Steven Shepard with Politico Pro, telling him, "I care deeply about the district, my neighbors and the issues they are facing and in the coming weeks I will consider all options available.”
That quote comes via the National Republican Campaign Committee. Spokesperson Katie Prill, who made nearly a daily habit of issuing email press statements bashing Sink during the campaign, supplied a new line about Ehrlich, writing, "Jessica Ehrlich was kicked to the curb by Washington Democrats but now that their golden child Alex Sink is out of the race, they are crawling back to Ehrlich with the same failed promises that hurt Sink last month. What Ehrlich still doesn’t understand is that her support for Nancy Pelosi and extreme policies like Obamacare is out-of-touch with Pinellas County families.”