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Republicans hold a small registration edge in the district, but it is a small one--less than 3 percent.[1]

Incumbent David Jolly (R) defeated former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D) to win the special election for Florida's 13th District on March 11, 2014.[2][3]

Ed Jany is officially running as an Independent candidate with no political affiliation, despite being recruited and having considerable support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.[4][5] He previously was a Republican, but switched to the Democratic Party out of frustration with the 2013 federal government shutdown.[4] Florida law states that candidates cannot run for a party's nomination unless they have been registered in the party for at least one year.[4] No other Democratic candidate is running, funneling all Democratic support towards Jany.

Voicemail from chairman

Despite initially announcing plans to run, Democratic candidate Manuel Sykes announced on April 30 2014, that he would not run in 2014. The announcement came after Pinellas County's Democratic chairman Mark Hanisee left a voicemail for Sykes that said he would not have the support from two key Democrats-- former congressional candidate Alex Sink and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman-- if he chose to run.[6]

"Neither one of them are endorsing you, nor is the (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee). They have another candidate. You better hold off, or, like I told you Sunday night, you are going to be persona non grata. Take that to the bank. That's telling you the gospel truth. You're going to be getting a call from Rick Kriseman, if you haven't already, telling you to back off. Have a nice weekend," Hanisee said in the voicemail.[6]

Apology from chairman

Pinellas Democratic Chairman Mark Hanisee said in a written statement on May 9, 2014, "I sincerely regret" leaving a bluntly worded voice mail for Manuel Sykes who was considering running for Congress, and acknowledged it was "disrespectful" for him to do so.[7]

Alex Sink

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel called Alex Sink (D) in March 2014, following the March 11, 2014, special election, to discuss plans to run again in November 2014 after losing to David Jolly (R).[8]

“I believe if Alex Sink decides to run, she will win in November. We will do everything — and I mean everything — to support her in that endeavor...I did call her last night and left a message. My message was, I think she ran a great race and if this election were in November versus March, I believe she would have won, and I encouraged her to speak with us about continuing this campaign to victory in November...I have not heard back from her...This is just the day after the special, so we haven’t started thinking about who else may be viable. I am hopeful that Alex and I can talk soon,” Israel said.[8]

Sink said in a statement on April 15, 2014, that she made a “personal decision” not to run in 2014.[6][9]

In her statement Sink said, “I look forward to finding new, rewarding avenues where I can continue to effectively serve the people of Florida. I remain totally convinced that a Democrat can and will win this congressional seat in the fall, and I look forward to helping the Democratic nominee.”[6]

C.W. Bill Young

In April 2013, campaign fundraising figures caused some to speculate whether Young planned to retire, rather than seek re-election in 2014.[10][1] In the first set of campaign finance reports, Young reported raising $58,000 and had $209,000 on hand.[10] Young then announced on October 9, 2013, that when his term ended in 2014 he planned retire.[11] He cited several factors why he chose not to run for re-election, including his health and his desire to spend more time with his family.[11]

Young died on October 18, 2013, following complications resulting from a chronic injury.[12] At the time of his death, Young was the longest serving House Republican. A special election will be held to fill his vacant seat.[13] The winner of the special election will run as the incumbent in the election in 2014.

Early election announcements

Democrats initially announced that they would target incumbent C. W. Bill Young (R), who had been in office for more than four decades, insisting that 2014 would be different.[1] The DCCC and EMILY's List also listed Young as an early target. Nationally, Democrats counted on Young being vulnerable due to the defense sequestration.[1] Young’s age increasingly became an early factor as well. If he was able to seek a 23rd term in the House, he would have been 84 years old on Election Day.[1]