Although Ed Jany's departure from the CD13 race comes just two days after a report in the Tampa Bay Times revealed that he had inflated his education credentials, the Marine Corps Reserve colonel insists that the timing is coincidental, and that if he were a wealthy man or had a "sugar daddy" he could have stayed in the race in the uber-competitive Pinellas County Congressional District that GOP newcomer David Jolly won by less than 2 percentage points two months ago.
"They really sensationalized this thing talking about my resume," said Jany, speaking from his Bayshore Boulevard home in Tampa this afternoon a few hours after the Times' Adam Smith reported that he was leaving the race. But Jany admitted later in the conversation that it was "irresponsible on my part for not vetting" Madison University when it came to getting a college degree. Madison has the reputation for being a diploma mill that doesn't have an actual campus or classes.
The other revelation in reporter William R. Levesque's story regarding Jany's academic credentials was that even though he attended the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate for four years, he did not receive a degree from the school, despite what it says on his LinkedIn resume.
Fireable offenses? Jany doesn't think so. The real story behind his departure, he says, is that his boss at the MutualInk contracting firm needed him to commit to his job in Brazil coordinating security for next month's World Cup, or move on. And Jany says that because he is retiring in July from the military — but that many of those years were on reserve duty — his full pension won't kick in for another decade (he's 49).
"This was going to create a significant financial burden for me and my family," he says, adding that his health care insurance was going to go from $204 a month to $933 a month. Jany's entire career has been in the military and law enforcement, making him a potentially attractive candidate for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to run against Jolly in a pro-military community like CD13, but Jany says that his little taste of it makes him realize that one has to be A) wealthy or B) self-employed to run for office.
"You have to have money to sustain yourself, and if I was going to be in a prolonged campaign for six months without a job, how do I pay for me and my family? It's just impossible."
Jany adds, "If I had some sugar daddy want to stand up and give me money for the next 6-12 months to support me while I ran and campaigned, I'll try to run back in. I'm not afraid to run. I'm not afraid of dealing with the media."
Needless to say, the DCCC and the Pinellas Democratic Executive Committee come out looking horrible in the aftermath — the DCCC for failing to fully vet an unknown quantity in Jany, and the Pinellas Democrats for so willingly obeying their masters in Washington not only this time around, but last fall after Bill Young died, giving them their first viable chance at the swing-district seat in two generations.
The DCCC was mocked in some quarters when they unveiled Jany, because of the fact that, like Alex Sink, he did not live in Pinellas County. And because of an arcane state law, he wasn't actually a Democrat officially, since state law prevents candidates from changing political parties within a year of running for office. (Jany, a former Republican, said he was disgusted by the government shutdown last fall and left the GOP at that time.)
Jany said that officials with the DCCC weren't dissuaded by the Times piece about his education credentials, and were trying to talk him out of dropping out late Monday night, to no avail. Jany says, all of this notwithstanding, "What really bothers me more is that people focused on the [Times story] and not on my politics and what I could bring to the party and what I could bring to the electorate."
But that's not going to happen. Not in 2014, at least.