Mitch Perry Report 2.4.14: Get ready for five more weeks of trashy ads in CD13 race

The three candidates running in the CD13 special election — Republican David Jolly, Democrat Alex Sink, and Libertarian Lucas Overby — got it on last night in Seminole in their first debate of the special general election campaign (Read our take on it here).

Voting by mail in the election starts today, but there's still 35 more days on the calendar until the election cycle ends, on Tuesday March 11. And if you're a bit annoyed about seeing the Republican and Democratic party apparatus trashing their opponents' candidacy with constant TV ads, well, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

As Politico reports, a group called the American Action Network is launching the first ad of its $500,00 buy by attacking Sink for making "a mess" of things, slamming her for making millions at Bank of America while "thousands of jobs were cut in Florida." Hmm. Doesn't that smack of "class warfare"? It's part of a $1.2 million buy by three conservative groups on behalf of Jolly.

But don't worry about Sink not getting her message out. There are millions being spent by Democrats in Washington and their aligned interests. However, after last night's debate, we'll be watching to see if the DCCC moves its focus from attacking Jolly for his lobbying past and instead pivots to the platform he's running on, which is much more relevant to the voters. As noted by everyone this morning, Jolly's stances are pretty conservative. That may be the winning ticket for him, but obviously Sink doesn't believe so, as she's been emphasizing her bipartisan credentials on the campaign stump in what is known as a moderate district.

Hours before last night's first debate, CL asked Jolly if he was satisfied with the paucity of debates that Alex Sink has accepted in the campaign (just two). He's not, saying that the people in CD13 deserve to hear the candidates' positions on issues as widely as possible.

Charlie Crist was on Morning Joe this morning, and will be on a lot of cable news shows this week as he pimps his new tome, The Party's Over. Say what you want about the man, but he's not fooling around, going straight after Rick Scott hard in his first ad of the season.

And there was a surprise in Tampa yesterday when HART CEO Phillip Hale said he would be stepping down from his position in three months' time. Hale has always been a somewhat reluctant leader of the agency, and his departure is notable in that he says he's leaving for a job that nobody knows anything about.

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