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Sunday, Apr 23, 2017

Does Susan Latvala also endorse Speaker Pelosi II?

Alex Sink is pretty tickled over the news that she's been endorsed in her bid for Congress by Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala, a Republican. Who can blame her? With Florida's 13th U.S. House district split almost dead-even three ways among voters registered Republican, Democrat and independent or "other," a boost from the other side could prove useful come Election Day.

Latvala, setting aside partisanship - not for the first time; she also endorsed Democrat Rick Kriseman in last year's St. Petersburg mayoral race - says Democrat Sink "is a moderate who will reach across the aisle and bring Republicans and Democrats together to get things done for us.

"Alex is a problem-solver and thoroughly understands the issues facing Pinellas families, and she is best prepared to take our voice to Washington."

Latvala likened Sink to the late Bill Young, a Republican who died in October after 43 years representing Pinellas in Washington, creating the current opening. Young, she said, "worked with both parties and knew how to get things done."

Conveniently, Latvala neglects to mention GOP candidate David Jolly was Young's general counsel for nearly 20 years, making him integral to much of that reaching-across and getting-things-done team the commissioner so admires.

But whatever other triumphant qualities the former Bank of America executive and state chief financial officer has going for her, Latvala's endorsement fails to mention this one: if elected, Democrat Sink would bring Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi two votes closer (the one Republicans lost; the one Democrats gained) to reclaiming the Speaker's gavel.

Just now, Republicans hold a 33-seat majority (with four vacancies). However unlikely, based on current polls, a shift of only 17 seats would restore Madame "We Have To Pass It To See What's In It" to the Big Chair.

Maybe Pinellas voters are OK with that. Maybe not. Either way, they should understand the unspoken implication behind Latvala's endorsement. And if Pelosi ascendant isn't an outcome the Republican commissioner supports, she needs to untangle how a vote for Sink isn't a vote for precisely that.