It hasn't been very attractive, but the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) apparently has
found a candidate at the last hour to run in the CD13 race vs. just-elected Republican David Jolly in November.
He's Ed Jany Jr., who's got several pluses and a few minuses as he enters into what for him will be a whole new world. The positives? He's a an American success story, an immigrant who came to the U.S. with his parents from Brazil as a young child, and ended up having a successful military career while also serving in law enforcement. And he's a converted Republican, saying his party left him after last fall's government shutdown. But because of an unusual state law (created after Charlie Crist left the GOP in 2010), a candidate must be registered with a party a year before filing to run for office from that same party. So he'll actually be running as an independent, officially known as non-party-affiliated.
And once again, the DCCC has chosen a candidate (after handpicking Alex Sink last fall) who doesn't actually live in CD13, but across the Bay in Hillsborough County. Though Jany says he doesn't think it will be an impediment, it was an underrated but legitimate factor for Sink.
Another problem, at least for today, was that Jany didn't seem too steeped in the issues for a congressional candidate.
When asked on a conference call what particular issues he'd like to focus on if elected, Jany responded with a volley of cliches, saying he didn't want to get too "into the weeds" in his first meeting with the press. He trotted out bromides (à la Sink) of wanting to transcend partisan politics and to bring people together in Washington.
When asked specifically about the Affordable Care Act, an issue he's certainly going to be called upon to discuss throughout the campaign, Jany was maddeningly vague, talking about how, as a veteran, Tricare has been a lifesaver for him and his wife Luciano, a breast cancer survivor. When asked to be more specific, he said there are "good aspects and bad aspects" to the law. "I think we need to review it and see, but you can't throw the baby out with the bathwater."
Jany has had a distinguished public career in the military. He served in the Special Forces, where he earned his Green Beret, and the Marine Corps Reconnaissance and Special Operations. He also served as Commanding Officer for the Anti-Terrorism Battalion and worked for Special Operations Command Central at MacDill Air Force Base, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.
When asked by CL how it worked out that he ended up running for Congress with the DCCC's blessing, Jany denied that party elders reached out to him."This is something I started," he said, admitting that he's never had much "of an inkling to go into politics."
Jany's entry into the race comes a day after the ugly reality of party politics made it into print, with Pinellas Democratic Executive Committee Chair Mark Hanisee being quoted in the Tampa Bay Times
telling the previous Democrat who entered the race, the Reverend Manuel Skyes, that he was not the choice of the DCCC.
National Republican Congressional Campaign (NRCC) spokesperson Katie Prill blasted the choice of Jany, calling it the DCCC's "epic recruitment fail." Prill said in a statement that "this is a humongous recruitment fail for Nancy Pelosi and the DCCC. After losing all of their top recruits thanks to President Obama's toxic agenda, they are now stuck with a candidate who couldn't even run as a Democrat because he didn't register in time. This is truly embarrassing for Washington Democrats."