Ed Jany, Marine colonel recruited at the last minute by Democrats to run against Rep. David Jolly in St. Petersburg’s District 13 U.S. House race, is dropping out.
The surprise announcement by Jany today completes a Democratic recruiting fiasco in the district, won by Jolly in a March special election which many Democrats thought they could, and should, win.
In an email, Jany said he’s leaving the race because of a commitment he made to work in security at the World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil in June and July.
Alex Sink, favored by some national Democrats to oppose Jolly, even after her narrow loss in the March special election, announced in April she won’t run in the November regular, setting off a Democratic scramble for a candidate.
St. Petersburg pastor Manuel Sykes filed to run, but was urged by Democrats to get out of the race to make way for a candidate they thought would be more electable, and did so.
Jany was recruited by Democrats to run, but was listed on the ballot as a no-party candidate because he switched parties from Republican less than a year ago. Florida law requires a candidate to have been registered in a party for at least a year to run representing the party.
His candidacy took a hit over the weekend when the Tampa Bay Times published a story questioning the educational credentials on his resume.
Jany’s withdrawal leaves the party with no Democrat in the race. If Jany had been running as a Democrat, the party would have been allowed by law to choose a replacement, said elections law expert Ron Meyer.
Meyer said he’s not aware of any legal process allowing Democrats to replace a no-party candidate.
Another elections law expert, Mark Herron, said he believes the Democrats have no option.
Jolly now faces only a write-in candidate and Libertarian Party candidate Lucas Overby in his quest for re-election.
Here’s the text of a statement Jany issued a few minutes ago:
“It is with deep regret that I announce my withdrawal from the race for U.S. Representative in the Thirteenth District. In my professional capacity, I am responsible for coordinating some of the Command and Control for Security at the World Cup in Brazil this year, something I committed to doing some time ago. I wrongly assumed that I could maintain my professional work requirements while running for office, just as I was able to work full-time as a police officer while pursuing a full-time education and balancing my military service in the past. Unfortunately, the political process does not allow for me to continue my professional work, and I cannot afford to support my family while campaigning without an income. This has been a very tough decision that I’ve considered thoughtfully over the course of the last week, but it’s the best choice for my family right now.
“Since I first considered running for office, my wife Luciana and I have met with many wonderful, supportive people who encouraged us along the way. I’ve been amazed by the big hearts and humbled by the confidence of the people of Pinellas. Rest assured that I will continue to serve Pinellas County by assisting and supporting our Democratic candidates and remaining an advocate for the military community.”