Jessica Ehrlich will NOT run for the CD13 seat this fall

click to enlarge Shanna Gillette - Susan Ehrlich at a June 2012 primary event  in the runup to her race against Bill Young.
Susan Ehrlich at a June 2012 primary event in the runup to her race against Bill Young.
Shanna Gillette

Jessica Ehrlich, whose loss to the late  Bill Young in the 2012 race for the CD13 congressional seat was the closest anyone came to defeating him in nearly 20 years, has announced that she will not run for the Democratic nomination for the seat against Republican David Jolly this fall.

"Washington remains gridlocked and broken. After careful consideration, I have decided to not run for Congress at this time," Ehrlich said in a statement that she sent to CL. "New and exciting opportunities have come my way which will help me better serve my neighbors, the voters of the 13th, and all Floridians. I would like to thank all those who reached out to me encouraging me to run for their unwavering support and know that we will continue to fight together for a brighter future."

Among those new opportunities for Ehrlich have been her appearances on the Fox News Channel over the past few months. When CL asked Ehrlich to clarify, she replied,"I have found several promising platforms from which to get my message out and effect change. I am very excited for what the future will hold and am not ruling out any options at this time."

With Ehrlich's announcement, the two Democrats who have run most recently for the CD13 seat — Ehrlich and Alex Sink — have now both announced they do not intend to challenge Jolly this fall. The only Democrat to announce his candidacy so far is the Reverend Emanuel Sykes, the head of the St. Petersburg Chapter of the NAACP. Blogger Peter Schorsch reported this morning that St. Petersburg based-developer Joel Cantor is also considering becoming a candidate, and the Times on Sunday listed Eric Lynn, a one-time aide to former South Florida Congressman Peter Deutsch.  

Ehrlich is an attorney who spent some time in Washington working with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle before returning to the area and announcing her candidacy to challenge Young back in 2011. She lost to him by more than 15 points  in 2012, the closest that any Democrat had come to Young since 1992. 

She had been working hard raising money and collecting endorsements last fall when Young died. Days later, former CFO Alex Sink entered the race, and swallowed up most of the Democratic Party support that Ehrlich had cultivated. She dropped out of the race a short time later. 

Sink ended up losing by less than 2 percentage points in March, but announced a few weeks ago she would not run again in the fall. Democrats have been optimistic about their chances since there will be more of their voters presumably going to the polls in November than did last month, but they may end up running a candidate with considerably less name recognition or community support than Sink or Ehrlich. 


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