Despondent Democrats in Pinellas County and Washington are still dealing with the reality that somehow they failed to produce a candidate to run against Republican David Jolly in the CD13 race this November, one of the true rare swing-seat districts in the country. Their last, best hope, Ed Jany, dropped out of the race last Monday, just 10 days after he was introduced as the the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's choice.
But the Democrats do have another option in Libertarian Lucas Overby. The 27-year-old commercial diving supervisor ran a credible campaign in the special congressional election in March, finishing with five percent of the vote, not insignificant when considering that Jolly defeated Alex Sink by less than two percent. On Saturday night at the Libertarian Party state convention in Tampa, Overby took a decidedly harsh tone regarding the GOP.
"Bill Young, while he did a whole lot of good work, he also spent an egregious amount of money buying his seat for the next election," Overby said, speaking from a podium while addressing reporters and delegates to the convention. "I can't support that, or the social agenda of the Republicans, ever. So I seldom overlap with the voting records of Republicans."
That comment was sparked by a question from a reporter questioning how significantly different was the Libertarian philosophy from the Republican Party's. Overby was explicit during the campaign that he considered himself a "Left-atarian," and his stances on a number of issues definitely seem more progressive than say, Adrian Wyllie, the party's candidate for governor this year.
"I have never, ever found an area where a Republican candidate actually represented all of my ideals," Overby said on Saturday, speaking inside a room at the Howard Johnson motel in downtown Tampa. He said he didn't believe in cronyism or saying you support smaller government but "never, ever under any circumstances implement it? I can't support that," he said, adding that because historically he's always opted to vote for the lesser of two evils in major elections, "I usually go with the social justice candidate," which he said has almost always are Democrats.
In the weeks before the March 11 election, Overby had been exuding extreme confidence that he would do better than his polling numbers indicated, which always had him in single-digits, which is exactly how it came out in the end. He says that he believes a certain segment of the voters preferred him over Alex Sink, but for a variety of reasons ultimately chose the Democratic Party nominee.
He said he's been receiving "heavy endorsements" from Pinellas Democrats, but didn't specify who in particular. And he said that his staff had been approached by some union in the county (though in a follow-up conversation he refused to name who that might be, saying such conversations were confidential at the moment).
Overby was the last of a handful of Libertarian candidates running for either state or federal offices who addressed the media on Saturday night in Tampa. Along with Wyllie, Bill Wohlsifer is running for Attorney General, Ray Netherwood for Congress in the special election in CD 19, and Karen Schoen and Ken Willey are both running for state House seats.