Libertarian Candidate Lucas Overby stunned naysayers and Democratic and Republican establishments with his victory over Democrat Alex Sink and Republican David Jolly in the Bay News 9 Congressional Debate, broadcast in advance of the March 11 Special Election for Congressional District 13.
The Overby campaign was forced to fight for his inclusion in the forum, also aired nationally on C-Span, as supporters of the Pinellas County Libertarian verified to the sponsors he had in fact cleared the five-percent threshold necessary for inclusion in the debate. After initial resistance, Bay News 9 and the Tampa Bay Times grudgingly added Overby to the locally and nationally televised event, which can be viewed via this link.
Overby’s Campaign Manager Joseph Santaniello speaks with Examiner
After Overby’s stunning performance in the Bay News 9 Debate, neither Sink nor Jolly has shown any eagerness to engage in follow-up debates and forums in the presence of their constituents or the media.
On Tuesday evening, Feb. 25, after yet another Congressional Candidate Forum was closed to the media at the request of the Sink and Jolly Campaigns, Joseph Santaniello, Campaign Manager for the Lucas Overby for Congress Campaign, spoke with the Tampa Bay Libertarian Examiner about this recurring problem the constituents in District 13 have faced since the campaign to replace Bill Young began around New Years.
Santaniello provided the Examiner a list of debates and forums that either Jolly, Sink or both either canceled at the last minute for inconsistent reasons, or refused to allow media reporters into the event.
- Jan 5 – Community Bible Baptist Church: Republicans John Bircher and Jolly attended the event with Overby attended, but Republican Kathleen Peters and Democrat did not show.
- Jan 9 – Immigration Reform Forum: Sink and Jolly were no shows. CAIR (Council for American-Islamic Relations, Sierra Club, and CIR (Comprehensive Immigration Reform) NOW were some of the groups involved. The forum continued with only Overby, though a representative from the Sink campaign came to meet with Democratic groups an hour into conference
- Jan 28 – Clearwater Chamber of Commerce debate Pinellas Realtor’s Association: Lucas Overby showed up, only to find out the forum had already been canceled by Jolly and Sink.
- Jan 30 and Feb 6 – League of Women Voters and Suncoast Hospice: These groups tried to work around the other campaigns, making sure they could attend.
- Feb 13 – St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Conversation, Thursday, 7:30pm – 9:30pm Eastern Time free Fall Theatre, Central Avenue St Petersburg – also canceled.
- Feb 17th Westminster Palms Forum – The Jolly campaign called last minute, and said he could not make it, he said it was a personal matter. Sink refused, the forum hosts modified their by-laws to have this forum with only two candidates.
- Feb 23 – The Centre Seniors Forum in Palm Harbor: Sink said no, then Jolly “canceled” his "non-cancellation" just three days ahead of time. Jolly’s campaign has yet to be consistent as to why he canceled, offering excuses including prior engagements, church, and being double-booked. After Jolly’s last-minute withdrawal from the forum, the Seniors Council released a statement expressing the importance of candidates being in front of the public, and thanking the state representatives for coming to talk about issues. Nevertheless, Overby attended, answered questions, and addressed the comments and concerns of attendees at the event.
- Feb 25 – Congregation B'nai Israel in St. Petersburg: Canceled, due to “logistics issues”, even though the group planned to host the forum with just Jolly and Overby if Sink did not respond.
Jolly committed to one forum without Sink
Feb. 11 – Disston Heights and Civic Heights at the St. Petersburg Community Church: This debate was almost canceled. Alex Sink officially declined, and an anonymous representative from David Jolly's office said “he (Jolly) would love to be there -- but only if we can get Sink to commit.” Santaniello pushed the event’s organizer to allow each candidate an hour, instead of the original 30 minutes, to provide extra time for questions and comments from the audience.
Finally, just three days before the forum, Jolly confirmed he would in fact participate in the debate with Overby. It was at this event Jolly actually admitted this about Overby: “He is smarter than me.”
Neither Jolly nor Sink has confirmed for this Saturday’s debate
On Saturday, March 1, the Wonderburg Corporation will host a forum at 7 p.m. So far, there is no response from Jolly or Sink, but the event will have other candidates from the March 11 local and municipal elections. Alexander Duensing, President of the Wonderburg Corporation, is still hoping the other two Congressional Candidates in the District 13 Special Election will show, but he seems doubtful.
Overby the only Congressional Candidate not playing games with his constituents
Based on the pattern of questionable to downright deceitful political behavior from both Democrat Alex Sink and Republican David Jolly, who would rather sling mud at each other on their well-funded television commercials than sit, answer questions, and address the concerns of the constituents in District 13, the only Congressional Candidate not playing games with the people in District 13 is Libertarian Lucas Overby.
Lucas Overby is the only candidate competing in the March 11 Special Election who was born, raised, attended high school, has worked, and is currently raising a family within his Pinellas County Congressional District. Overby has proven to the audiences he is worthy of their vote, and is the only contender who promises to put the will of the voters over those of the well-funded special interest groups.
For more information on Lucas Overby, the Libertarian Candidate for Congressional District 13, please visit his website and Facebook page. To learn more about the Libertarian Party of Florida, please visit the organization’s website and Facebook page.